The New York Knicks seem to have found an answer at the point guard spot. Jeremy Lin has stepped in and won four straight games seemingly on his own, pushing the Knicks back into the playoff picture.
Is this Lin's team now? It's too soon to say yes, but there's no denying that the Knicks are much better with him leading the way than they were when Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire were stumbling over one another. Lin will be leading the charge until further notice.
Adding one more piece to the puzzle couldn't hurt, though. One of the pieces who's out there is J.R. Smith, formerly of the Denver Nuggets.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein noted on Friday that the Knickerbockers are interested:
New York is still the closest thing to a consensus favorite to sign J.R. Smith to a rest-of-the-season contract worth $2.5 million when the rangy guard returns from China...the Knicks are starved for shooters and have more money and a bigger role to offer than most Smith suitors, which gives them an edge.
Sounds like a sweet deal, and you can't help but imagine how Smith would fit in on the Knicks.
Smith's shooting abilities would play well in New York's offense. We've seen Lin dominate when he has a host of shooters around him. They make things that much easier by spreading the floor for him, and they've done him (and his assist numbers) a favor by knocking down their shots.
It's true that the Knicks have a limited number of shooters, though. Adding another to the mix should be a priority as the team speeds towards the postseason. As well as the Knicks are playing right now, they're hardly slump-proof. They need another body, and they need more talent. Smith would fit the bill quite nicely.
It remains to be seen how the Knicks are going to operate once they have Lin, Stoudemire and Anthony all out on the court at the same time. It's a good bet that Mike D'Antoni will implement a modified version of the system he's using now while Stoudemire and Anthony are out, but the emphasis will still be placed on Lin making plays for those around him.
Melo will need the ball in his hands a lot, but it would be stupid to increase his role to the point where Lin is taken out of his comfort zone. He's enjoying so much success now precisely because the Knicks have provided him with a comfort zone.
As long as Lin has a prominent role, the team's shooters will have a prominent role, so Stein is absolutely correct when he says that the Knicks have a bigger role to offer Smith than other teams.
Plus, it helps that the Knicks have the Big Apple to offer, and the New York Yankees tattoo Smith has on his neck would be well-received in New York.
Just throwing it out there.