Jeremy Lin: Could NY Knicks Sensation Be Dark Horse to Win NBA MVP?

Bob Bajek@bobbajekAnalyst IIIFebruary 9, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 08: Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks sits on the bench after colliding with John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards (not pictured) during the first half at Verizon Center on February 8, 2012 in Washington, DC.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Jeremy Lin has taken the NBA by storm by leading a New York Knicks team to three straight victories on electrifying play.

Lin's been so good that if he keeps up his stellar play while leading a dysfunctional New York squad to more victories, he could very well be a dark horse in this year's NBA MVP race.

The last three games have been Lin's coming out party, as the 6'3" point guard has collected 25.3 points on 58 percent shooting, 8.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds a game. What's more impressive about these stats is Lin played without stars Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire the past two contests. 

Anthony is suffering through a groin injury that could sideline him for a couple weeks while Stoudemire is taking time off as his older brother Hazell died in a car crash and will return next Monday.

These absences could spell doom for a struggling Knicks team, but Lin has taken over the slack and has New York on a winning track.

Before Lin saw significant floor time, the Knicks were a paltry 8-15 and rapidly falling out of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Then Lin came in and has made Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni's offensive system work extremely well.

Lin is not going to keep up scoring 25 points a night, but if the Harvard grad pulls off 15 points and seven to eight assists the rest of the way, it's conceivable he will be a possible MVP candidate.

Here is Lin's competition.

LeBron James is having an amazing year for the Miami Heat, yet some NBA writers will argue he is playing with Dwyane Wade and Chis Bosh, easily two of the league's Top 15 players.

Kevin Durant has the Oklahoma City Thunder atop the NBA record wise, though he isn't leading the league in scoring and is an average defender at best. Plus, voters will look at him having point guard Russell Westbrook as a sidekick.

Kobe Bryant is carrying the Los Angeles Lakers on his back. However, if the Lakers fail to make the playoffs, The Black Mamba will not win the award.

The Minnesota Timberwolves missing the playoffs would cost star Kevin Love the MVP as well.

Other key contenders like Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and Carmelo Anthony are hampered by injuries and are missing significant playing time.

Lin does have Anthony and STAT as teammates, but both have struggled this year. His real value will show through if he could squeeze the most out of the Knicks' two stars and  get the Knicks atop the Atlantic Division.

Stoudemire has struggled with his offensive game since Carmelo came to the Big Apple from the Denver Nuggets. Lin needs to make sure Stoudemire can average closer to his 25.3 points from 2010-11 than the 18.2 he collects now.

Lin can relieve the ball-handling pressure D'Antoni placed on Melo since the Knicks were thin at the 1-guard spot. Without worrying about facilitating the offense, Carmelo could concentrate more on shooting efficiently. 

The key for Lin's MVP candidacy is threefold. If he can continue playing at a high level, get Carmelo and Stoudemire to play well with each other on the hardwood and lead the Knicks to a division title, Lin will be a top contender for the award.


Bob Bajek is an NBA Featured Columnist. He is also a freelance reporter and can be followed at and Twitter.