Jeremy Lin: Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies Would End Linsanity Given the Chance

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIMarch 19, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 10:  Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks drives against Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden on February 10, 2012 in New York City.  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 Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

Jeremy Lin has lit it up for the New York Knicks in his last few games. He set an NBA record with 89 points in his first three starts, and then scored 38 against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. The Memphis Grizzlies won a 94-83 rout in their only 2011-12 meeting with the New York Knicks, in which Lin didn't see floor time.

What a shame. Tony Allen and the Grizzlies would have loved to play Lin. Allen made do with Lin sitting on the bench, picking up five steals in the game.

Lin has had a remarkable run in the last few games. He put up 26.8 points and eight assists per game in the last five games. Still, he had 4.6 turnovers per game during that time, including eight last Monday against the Utah Jazz.

Lin has drawn comparisons to Tim Tebow. Ben Cohen of the Wall Street Journal noted how Lin has gained cult phenomenon status like that which Tebow gained, as well as how Lin thanks God the first chance he gets during press conferences.

A major similarity between Tebow and Lin in their play is their inaccuracy. Tebow completes less than half his passes. Lin commits many of his turnovers on easy passes that shouldn't be picked off, yet end up going the other way due to his unrefined passing skills.

Tebow wasn't as turnover prone as Lin, save the last three games of the regular season when he threw five interceptions and lost three fumbles.


Lin Wouldn't Survive the "Grindhouse"

The Grizzlies would put a stop to Linsanity if they had the normal two meetings with the Knicks they would in an 82-game season. The Grizzlies rip the ball away from opponents with such frequency that it seems the Grizzlies go up against women's college basketball teams every time they hit the court.

Memphis forces turnovers like few other teams do. They lead the league in steals (10.2 per game) and turnovers forced (17.9 per game). Mike Conley (2.4 steals per game) and Tony Allen (1.8 steals per game) are among the top 10 in steals per game. Allen leads the league in steals percentage (3.7 percent).

The Grizzlies have five players averaging more than a steal per game (Allen, Conley, O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol).

Allen and Conley would have too much fun with Lin. Both Allen and Conley play intense defense, putting close pressure on ball handlers. Allen is tremendous at getting into passing lanes and intercepting passes. He would brutalize Lin for making beginner mistakes passing the ball.

Lin, who has committed six or more turnovers in three of the last four games, would be doomed against the Grizzlies. His inside drives would be snuffed by Gasol, who is fourth in the league in blocks per game. Even if he played significant minutes against Grizzlies backups, he would be met with Mayo's slick hands.

Another 2011-12 game between the Knicks and Grizzlies would see Lin committing 10 or more turnovers. Allen would run away with five steals, and Conley might do the same.


Conclusion: Maybe It's Just as Well the Grizzlies Won't Confront Linsanity This Season

The Grizzlies are just fine without dealing with Linsanity this season. Beale Street wouldn't benefit from having the rush of the cult phenomenon since the Grizzlies played the Knicks at home last month. Thus, the Grizzlies wouldn't get the benefit of the added attendance receipts.

The Grizzlies have enough distractions this season. They've dealt with major injuries to Zach Randolph and Darrell Arthur. Rudy Gay had to go through the pains of starting anew after shoulder surgery.

Jeremy Lin can take his bumps against other teams. Before the All-Star break, Lin will face the Miami Heat and New Jersey Nets, which are fourth and 10th in turnovers forced, respectively. Lin may avoid the Tony Allen's "Grindhouse," but he'll meet a similar grinding against LeBron James.

Allen and his crew surely welcome Lin briskly if the craziness continues next season.