New York Knicks: 7 Reasons Jeremy Lin Will Bridge Gap Between Melo and Amar'e
Before Lin had his breakout game against the Nets on February 4, the Knicks were 21-29 since acquiring Carmelo Anthony last season.
In Lin’s 25 games of excellence after that date, the Knicks went 15-10 and put themselves back in playoff contention in the East.
Lin is currently a restricted free agent and will draw tons of interest from other teams this offseason, but luckily the Knicks have the right to match any offer for him, which they most likely will.
Here are seven ways Jeremy Lin will bridge the gap between Melo and Stoudemire and lead the Knicks on a deep playoff run next season.
Melo Doesn’t Need to Bring the Ball Up Anymore
Without a suitable point guard in the lineup before Lin, Anthony was forced to play a point-forward position. This put the Knicks at a disadvantage for multiple reasons.
One problem with this is Melo is such a great mid-range shooter, but was rarely able to come off screens or catch the ball at the elbow where he loves to shoot since he had to bring the ball up court every play.
Another issue was Anthony doesn’t have the best court vision and sometimes couldn’t get the ball to Stoudemire or Chandler when they were open down low for easy shots.
Having a point guard like Lin certainly helps Anthony get the ball in spots where he can be much more efficient on offense.
Having a True Point Guard Helps with Floor Spacing
With Melo not needing to bring the ball up the floor anymore, the Knicks have much better spacing on the court since no one needs to play out of position.
Before Lin, two players would be out of their comfort zones at all times, Carmelo, who would be up top instead of at the elbow area, and whoever was playing point guard, who was on the wing off the ball instead of having the ball in their hands like they’re used to.
This confusion by both players would negatively affect everyone else on the team since the point guard playing on the wing wouldn’t make the proper rotations and cuts like a natural wing player would.
Having Lin puts everyone back in their natural spots again and opens the floor up for every player on the team to play like they are accustomed to playing.
Lin Takes Some of the Pressure off of Melo and STAT
Before Lin emerged out of nowhere, it was Anthony and Stoudemire’s responsibility to do the majority of the scoring for the Knicks.
If one of them was off their game that day, the other player needed to step up big time or the Knicks would have absolutely no chance, especially versus the upper echelon teams in the league.
Having Lin relieves some of the pressure from the two stars because now if one of them can’t hit a shot that particular game, there are still two other great scorers who can take over and win that game for the Knicks.
Just knowing that there is less pressure on them to come up huge for their team every single game will lead to more consistent play out of both Melo and Stoudemire..
Lin Facilitates Better Ball Movement
Having a natural point guard always facilitates better ball movement, which leads to easier shots for everyone.
Lin is very quick off the dribble and loves to get into the lane with the ball. Once there, he is so great and kicking it out to open teammates on the perimeter, leaving the defense scrambling to recover.
One or two passes later the Knicks’ great perimeter shooters would be catching the ball in stride to take an open jumper.
These shots are always easier to hit than when Anthony or Stoudemire needed to create their own look off the dribble.
Lin Can Run the Pick & Roll with Amar’e Stoudemire
Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire had trouble playing together at first. Melo loves to run isolation plays and STAT wants to be in a pick & roll situation. They tried to run the pick and roll together a few times, but this strategy proved to be very unsuccessful.
Having Lin allows both players to play the way they want to play when it’s their turn to make something happen.
Carmelo can run his isolation plays at times, while Lin and Stoudemire can run the pick and roll in other situations. Most teams can’t effectively use both strategies, which gives the Knicks a great advantage over most opponents.
Lin Is a Vocal Leader
From day one, Lin has been a very vocal leader on the court.
Even though he was the new kid on the block, Lin never shied away from expressing how he felt to the two superstars on the team, Melo and STAT.
A great example of this was a game against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Knicks were down by one point with under 30 seconds remaining in the game and Lin forced his man to take a terrible shot.
Stoudemire and Anthony didn’t box their men out however and Ersan Ilyasova got an easy put back to stretch the lead to three. The Knicks called timeout right after that and Lin got right in Anthony’s face to make sure that mistake wouldn’t happen again.
Most rookies wouldn’t dare to scream at a star like that, but Lin understands part of his role is to make sure everyone else on the team is doing their job.
Lin Can Find the Hot Hand
Before Lin, Amar’e Stoudemire would sometimes get lost on offense.
As I stated before, Carmelo Anthony would very often bring the ball up as a point-forward and then set up an isolation play for himself. The rest of the team would usually stand around watching him go to work, praying that they got to touch the ball that possession.
Lin changed that completely. He looks for players who are hot at the moment and sets up plays to get them in scoring positions; something Anthony wasn’t capable of doing.
This strategy is much more beneficial to the Knicks and boosts every players confidence as they now can be confident that if they are playing well, Lin will find them the ball.