New York Knicks: Why Jeremy Lin Injury Shatters Playoff Hopes

Andre KhatchaturianCorrespondent IIIApril 2, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 20:  Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks looks on against 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

Ladies and gentlemen, Linsanity is officially over for the 2012 season.

And it could be over for good in New York considering Lin's a free agent this summer.

Yes, there is a bleak chance that Jeremy Lin will return from his injury if the Knicks make the playoffs, but you could kiss that possibility good-bye. The Knicks aren't going anywhere without Lin. 

After Lin was required to have surgery on his knee, New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said that the team probably won't pursue another point guard for the playoff push and stick with Baron Davis.

Nothing against Baron, who is a veteran in the league, but Lin was an integral part of the Knicks' offense. He's the reason why they're in the playoff hunt right now.

Make no mistake. When the Knicks made Carmelo Anthony the focal point of the offense, the season became a lost cause.

Anthony is a scorer, nothing more.

On the other hand, Lin was a distributor and a facilitator. With him on the floor, the entire offense runs more smoothly. He makes everybody's job easier. However, with Carmelo on the floor it's difficult to do that because he was brought to New York to lead the team. He's the guy who is paid to lead the charge for the Knicks.

Sure, Lin might've turned the ball over a little too much for anyone's liking and he wasn't the best defensive player on the planet, but he provided a jolt to the offense, and the stats and Knicks results exemplified this.

With Lin leading the way without Melo, the Knicks were 7-1. Since Anthony's return, the Knicks are 10-9. 

In terms of efficiency, Lin is slightly more superior to Anthony. Lin's Player Efficiency Ratio is 19.93, while Anthony's is 19.14. 

With Lin injured now, the Knicks are pretty much the same team that hit a downward spiral and nearly lost the season in late January before Lin resurrected them.

It's true that the Knicks have won nine of their last 11 games and are 3-1 without Lin in the lineup so far. They've also opened up a two-and-a-half-game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. 

That being said, in the long run Lin's absence will hit the Knicks hard. Four games is a small sample. The Knicks schedule gets considerably tougher in April. Just in the next two weeks they have to play at Indiana, at Orlando, a home-and-home against Chicago, at Milwaukee, Boston and Miami

These next two weeks will determine whether the Knicks will make the playoffs or not. 

Not having Jeremy in the lineup will make it a Lin-possible task for the Knicks that'll be difficult to overcome. 

Most of those teams have elite point guards that will shred Baron Davis into pieces. Going up against Derrick Rose twice and Rajon Rondo is not an easy task. They also have a late April game against Chris Paul's Los Angeles Clippers. Good luck, Baron.

Also, not having a solid point guard to facilitate the offense for everyone else will make winning these games a mountainous and arduous feat. 

Things may be looking alright for the Knicks now, but come May, the team may be watching the playoffs from home.