Jeremy Lin: Why 'Linsanity' Won't Continue for New York Knicks Next Season

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Jeremy Lin: Why 'Linsanity' Won't Continue for New York Knicks Next Season
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
The Knicks will be guided by Jeremy Lin on the court, and Mike Woodson from the bench.

When the 2012-2013 NBA season eventually tips off, New York Knicks fans will be eagerly anticipating the return of Jeremy Lin

Assuming that the proclamations of head coach Mike Woodson are indeed credible, Jeremy Lin will be re-signed, and then will reclaim the starting point guard job that he had before he injured his knee last March.  

Jeremy Lin took the league by storm last February. He played 36 minutes off the bench in a 99-92 win against the New Jersey Nets on Feb. 4. "Linsanity" had officially begun.  

On March 24, Lin played 24 minutes against the Detroit Pistons while guiding the Knicks to a 101-79 win. That was it: Lin's knee injury would prevent him from playing again in either the regular season or the postseason.  As much hype as Lin has received, at the end of the day the entire Lin era is a sample of 26 games.

Even within that 26-game block, there were two micro-samples.

From Feb. 4 to the All-Star break, the New York Knicks and the world were immersed in "Linsanity."

This was small block of games when the Knicks were forced to rely heavily on Lin, while players such as Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire were out.

This was when Lin piloted the team to an eight-game win streak with victories over teams like the Lakers and Mavericks, and which catapulted them back into the playoff picture and above the .500 mark. 

Then there was the block of games after the All-Star break. 

This was a disjointed era marked by Lin's period of adjustment to Anthony's return, the team's own lack of cohesion as the Mike D'Antoni era imploded, and eventually ended, and the beginning of the Mike Woodson era as head coach.

All of that happened in less than month.

The era of "Linsanity" won't be repeated. There are numerous reasons but the most important one for Knicks' fans to remember is that it doesn't need to for the Knicks to be successful.

"Linsanity" reached its apex when he hit a game-winner in Toronto on 2/14/12

In the month of February, Jeremy Lin averaged 20.9 points and 8.4 assists per game. Those gaudy numbers were produced under the very point-guard friendly offensive system of Mike D'Antoni.

They were largely produced while the Knicks top options on offense missed games due to injury, (Carmelo) or family tragedy (Amar'e).

They're impressive numbers, and they were exactly what the team needed at that time.

"That time" won't be repeated, though. Even in the event that Carmelo and Amar'e both miss games simultaneously next season, it certainly won't be happening with Mike D'Antoni piloting the team from the bench.

This is not to suggest that Mike Woodson doesn't like or appreciate Jeremy Lin. It's merely indicative of Woodson's priorities, and his priorities are not scoring points while running a point-guard led motion style of offense; they're winning games and playing defense.

This is where the second period of the small Jeremy Lin era comes into view.

Out of the 14 games that Lin played in after the All-Star break, only seven were played with Mike Woodson as head coach. In those seven games, Lin averaged 13.3 points and 5.4 assists per game.

Seven games is an absurdly small sample size to pass judgment on any player. Then again, 26 games isn't exactly a sample size that creates much in the way of an accurate long-term scouting picture either.

Seven games is all that we have to work with, though. In those seven games, the Knicks were 6-1. That doesn't mean that the Knicks will win 70 games by playing a similar lineup under coach Woodson next season.

It does mean that if in fact the Knicks do end up with Lin piloting the team next season, NBA fans are likely to see something reminiscent of that seven-game span in terms of style of play and strategy.

"Linsanity" was spawned by a perfect storm of circumstances that produced dramatic and unexpected wins under a different head coach, and with key members of the Knicks out. If Lin were only averaging 13.3 points and 5.4 assists per game back in February, the Knicks probably wouldn't have won all those games.

That era is over, though. Lin will produce as a starting point guard for the Knicks. He will be solid, and the Knicks will be a solid team with Lin running the show. There won't be "Linsanity" though.

That era is over and in the long run, the Knicks as a team are probably better off for it.  

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