Jeremy Lin: 4 Reasons Why New York Knicks Guard Will Have Long-Term NBA Success

Rob Tong@colickyboyContributor IIIFebruary 15, 2012

Jeremy Lin: 4 Reasons Why New York Knicks Guard Will Have Long-Term NBA Success

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    The Jeremy Lin naysayers are out.

    Maybe they just want to get some publicity.

    Maybe they are just jealous of the Asian-American's meteoric rise to success.

    Maybe it's both.

    Whatever the reason, doubters and haters are calling Lin fans "Linsane" and claiming to feel "Linsulted."

    But after the Eastern Conference Player of the Week drilled the game-winning three to help the New York Knicks beat the Toronto Raptors and win their sixth straight game, it capped a series of games that showed four significant reasons why Lin's success will indeed last.

Lin Is a Point Guard

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    If Lin were a shooting guard—or, for that matter, any position other than point guard—I might be inclined to agree that "Linsanity" won't last.

    On offense, all non-point guard positions require the ball to be fed to them before they have a chance to take a shot.

    But as a point guard, the ball always starts in your hands.

    Lin is a true point guard, demonstrated by his excellent court vision and dishing out an average of 8.5 assists during the Knicks' current six-game win streak.

    And getting his teammates involved will help endear him to his teammates, compared to a shooting guard who takes a high volume of shots but doesn't pass much.

    The argument that Amar'e Stoudemire's return would bring about Lin's demise is amusing.

    Stoudemire, in particular, should appreciate the new Knicks floor leader. After all, Stoudemire thrived in Phoenix with point guard Steve Nash running the show.

    Whether it's executing the pick-and-roll or understanding pace and balance, Lin is the quintessential point guard for the Knicks.

    And since the offense always runs through him first, the argument that Lin will soon slide back into obscurity—even when Carmelo Anthony returns—doesn't have any substance.

The Dude Can Play

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    The argument that the sample size for Lin's production is too small is borne of ignorance.

    One game is a small sample size.

    Against Washington on January 11th, the Chicago Bulls' John Lucas III tallied 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Both before and since then, he hasn't been nearly as effective.

    Two games gives more evidence.Three games tells you still more.

    If you're bad or inconsistent—or both—the NBA will expose you quickly. You won't need 82 games to find out.

    After six games—especially with the minutes Lin has played in each of those games—saying that the sample size is too small is equivalent to saying you can't evaluate talent very well.

    We've seen that Lin handles the ball well, can see the floor well, plays in control of himself rather than playing frenetically, understands spacing, is outstanding near the rim and can shoot the ball from long distance.

    And the more he plays, the more experience he will get—from both bad nights and good nights.

    So in the long run, he'll only get better, not worse.

    He's not an athletic freak, but nevertheless, he can ball.

He's Resilient

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    Lin possesses a particular trait that will also enable him to sustain long-term success in the league. And it was on display in the Toronto Raptors game.

    In the first half of that game, Lin committed five turnovers.

    Lesser players would change their game and be more passive to control the negative damage—particularly considering the intense scrutiny he's been under.

    Lin, however, continued to be aggressive, attacking the basket repeatedly in the second half.

    This came to bear at the end of the game when Toronto's Jose Calderon respected Lin's ability to drive to the hoop.

    Calderon played off Lin, and Lin took advantage of the extra space by nailing the three-pointer.

    Calderon's respect for Lin's aggressive mentality would not have occurred had Lin turned timid after his first-half troubles.

    So even after suffering some failures, Lin has demonstrated a fighting spirit—an unwillingness to back down.

    That bodes well for his long-term future.

Lin Has Talented Teammates

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    With Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Iman Shumpert, the Knicks have talent to compete.

    All they needed was the glue to assemble all the pieces together in a cohesive unit.

    That glue is the new Sports Illustrated cover boy, Jeremy Lin.

    To argue that Anthony and Stoudemire's return will mean Lin's success won't last is another argument from ignorance.

    It's like saying having James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar around would mean Magic Johnson's success wouldn't last.

    Or that having Robert Parrish and Larry Bird around would limit Kevin McHale's success.

    In fact, the converse is actually true.

    Lin will be more—not less—successful with Anthony and Stoudemire on the floor because defenses would then be foolish to double Lin.

    Having Anthony and Stoudemire on the floor will keep defenses honest—a big benefit for Lin, who can continue to play the way he has been in either shooting if he's open or attacking the rim and dishing.

    Even when Baron Davis returns, he can help preserve Lin's legs by giving solid point guard play when Lin takes a blow. Davis, now in his 15th season, is not the young gun who averaged 40.5 minutes a game anymore. Last year, he averaged just 25.3 minutes per game—the lowest since his rookie year.

    The belief that there will be a significant conflict between Davis and Lin is not based on evidence. Rather, Davis actually seems to genuinely like Lin, according to a Yahoo! Sports column following the amazing Knicks-Raptors game.


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    The basketball death of Jeremy Lin is being greatly exaggerated.

    As I mentioned in a prior column about why the hype over Lin is justified, his underdog story inspires everyman, ordinary people who dream of becoming a somebody.

    It's an underdog story to be celebrated.

    It's an underdog story that even movies can't dream up.

    And now, we have four substantive reasons why it's an underdog story that won't be a mirage.