Why Mike Woodson Actually Has Jeremy Lin Playing His Best Basketball

Ethan NorofCorrespondent IMarch 21, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 20:  Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks defends in the second half against Jose Calderon #8 of the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden on March 20, 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

There was a great deal of concern about how Mike Woodson taking over as coach of the New York Knicks would impact the play of Jeremy Lin.

Some tabloids went as far as to declare "Linsanity" dead, but the impact that Woodson has had on Lin hasn't been negative at all—it's been the exact opposite.

Since Woodson was named interim coach, Lin is averaging 14.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 3.5 turnovers and 1.0 steal per game on 54.8 percent shooting (17-of-31 from the floor).

For the season, Lin is averaging 14.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 3.6 turnovers and 1.6 steals on 45.9 percent shooting.

Lin's decline was greatly over-exaggerated by the media before Woodson even had a chance to show how he was going to utilize him. The head coach has already made it clear that Lin will remain his starting point guard for the remainder of the season (via Ian Begley of ESPN New York).

"Right now Jeremy Lin is our starting point guard and Baron is backing him up," Woodson said.

"That's the way it's going to be the rest of the season pretty much unless somebody gets hurt. I like that rotation. We also can move (Iman Shumpert) over to one sometimes. That's kind of the rotation I'm looking at right now.

And that's the right decision.

Although both Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire will see a larger role in the offense than they had been under Mike D'Antoni, Woodson's game plan has helped to alleviate some of the pressure on Lin.

Photo courtesy of Newsday
Photo courtesy of Newsday

Lin hadn't taken more than 10 shots in a game since Woodson took over until Wednesday's win over Philadelphia, but he had taken at least 11 shots in all but one game under D'Antoni since garnering his starting role.

That's a big change, and it's had a positive impact on both Lin and the team.

He's not being asked to shoulder the load on the offensive end, nor is he being asked to do it all through the pick-and-roll scheme that D'Antoni made famous.

Instead, Lin has been able to pick his shots and has been getting opportunities to score as a result.

He can focus on limiting his mistakes rather than forcing the issue, something that he had been doing consistently ever since D'Antoni declared that he was going to ride him "like friggin' Secretariat."

It's not a surprise that Lin has been playing well under Woodson despite so many thinking his ride in New York was over. Just like every time in his career before he took the country by storm, Lin will look to prove that he belongs.

He's made Woodson's job much easier so far, and there's no reason to think that he'll see a change in his role in the foreseeable future.

With the Knicks winning and on the upswing, the "Linning and Grinning" is set to continue.