Jeremy Lin: Returning Players Will Lead to Drop in Linsanity Levels in New York

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 15:  Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks looks on against the Sacramento Kings at Madison Square Garden on February 15, 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 Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

You may not have heard of him, but Jeremy Lin has been playing very well for the New York Knicks following a big performance against the New Jersey Nets earlier in the month.

He continued his run with 28 points and 14 assists yesterday against the Dallas Mavericks. It was another big step for Lin because Dallas has one of the better defenses in the league.

I've wondered if Lin was really as good as advertised. He exploded onto the scene following that game with the Nets, but the difficulty would be to keep up that momentum.

He's been great, but in the beginning, Lin benefited from playing against some shoddy defenses and was still an unknown quality.

The more games he played, the more opportunity there were for opposing teams to figure how to defend him.

And yet, he still continues to play well. Lin's even managed to become a little more of an all-around scorer.

Even with his recent performances, it's hard to envision him maintaining this kind of play on a nightly basis. Still, though, even a slight drop would have him among the better point guards in the game.

The big question among Knicks fans and NBA experts is how Carmelo Anthony is going to fit into this new Knicks team.

Even before Lin's emergence, an argument was made that New York was a better team with 'Melo on the bench. And now that case has strengthened.


Anthony had to breath a sigh of relief when New York had finally lost a game that Lin started. If that was to happen after Anthony returned, he would get a brunt of the blame for the loss.

Regardless, this team is going to have to be run differently with Anthony on the floor. He's going to need his desired amount of touches otherwise he isn't going to be happy, and he'll let it be known.

That means Lin will get fewer opportunities to make his drives to the basket that have been so successful. Also, best of luck to him in trying to take any last-second shots like he did in Toronto.

Anthony isn't the only one returning. Baron Davis looks like he is finally going to make his debut for the Knicks. While he seems perfectly content to ride the Linsanity wave, he will almost inevitably cut into Lin's playing time.

Then you add in J.R. Smith. He's just as big of a wild card as Anthony. He's almost guaranteed to take some stupid shots at inopportune times.

Smith clashed with former coach George Karl in Denver for his lack of effort on both sides of the floor. If he has the same problems with Mike D'Antoni, it could cause a rift in the team.

Lin has been a wonderful story this NBA season. Unfortunately, it's a story that can't continue.