In the past five games, Jeremy Lin has revived a crippled New York Knicks franchise through ball distribution and penetration. He has rendered Tyson Chandler a force on the offensive end and Landry Fields has once again become a factor. So, what's next?
Saving Amar'e Stoudemire.
After missing a week to mourn the death of his brother, Stoudemire returns to action against the Toronto Raptors. Many have questioned whether the return of New York's first savior will disrupt the unexpected chemistry the team has developed in his absence, but he won't.
Stoudemire's return doesn't mark the beginning of the end, but rather a new beginning; the struggling power forward is the next stop of Lin's mission to rescue the Knicks from dismay.
Last season, Stoudemire thrived off the pick-and-roll alongside Raymond Felton. Coincidentally, Lin's staple has become the pick-and-roll, which he has run through Jared Jeffries and Chandler.
And if he can have success with two defensive-minded big men, just think of what he will do do for the offensive guru that is Stoudemire.
Stoudemire is shooting a career-worst 44.7 percent from the field, and while he is at fault to some extent, the absence of a true point guard has killed his production. It's fantastic that Stoudemire can be an outside threat, but it cannot be the only weapon in his arsenal.
Before Lin, Stoudemire was forced to settle for jump shots, forced to create for himself and forced to put up bad shots with the shot clock winding down. Now, as he begins his tenure next to Lin, such occurrences will prove to be few and far between.
This is no longer a team that plays to Stoudemire's weaknesses. It is no longer a set of circumstances facilitating his demise. And it is no longer a situation that warrants speculation regarding whether the Knicks should trade him.
Behind an unlikely hero, New York is now an environment built for Stoudemire to succeed.
Will Lin continue to play superstar-caliber basketball? Perhaps, but he doesn't need to. He just needs to continue to do what comes naturally, and that's move the ball and take what opposing defenses give him.
Stoudemire has even compared Lin to the point guard that created the offensive beast within him, also known as Steve Nash. He's excited at the opportunity to play alongside this overnight sensation, and he should be.
Lin will not always win Eastern Conference player of the week. Hell, he won't always drop 25 points and eight assists every night. But he will always do his job.
And as long as that's the reality, Lin, the potential prodigy nobody knew about, will prove that Stoudemire is worth saving.
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