Jeremy Lin: Pros and Cons of Linsanity Staying with the New York Knicks
Lin was one of the most polarizing athletes in the country this season, and that same level of debate and attention has carried over into the offseason.
The Knicks are in flux, heading into next season. They are a solid playoff team, but they're still one or two pieces away from being a legitimate contender.
So the question becomes: Does the re-signing of Lin aid the Knicks in their chase for a ring? Or is he just an interesting story who only marginally improves the team?
New York will have to make that decision soon, as Lin hits free agency this offseason. Lin will be a hot commodity on the market, and the Knicks have to decipher whether he's their point guard of the future.
So, let’s look at the pros and the cons of Lin staying in the Big Apple.
Lin burst on to the scene in New York, and his emergence was on par with some of the biggest appearances ever to debut on Broadway.
He only played in 35 games with the Knicks before succumbing to a season-ending knee injury. However, in the short time he was on the court, Lin's play turned the basketball world upside down.
The undrafted free agent from Harvard consistently took apart NBA defenses with his uncanny ability to finish at the basket and his solid outside shot.
In 2012, Lin averaged 14.6 points a game, 6.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds. Those stats were on par with the top point guards in the league, and Lin has the talent and the basketball IQ to keep it up.
His ability to finish at the rim will never go away, and the way he spreads the floor and prevents defenses from collapsing on Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony is invaluable.
However, it could be Lin's value off the court that makes the most sense in bringing him back into the fold.
Lin not only exploded in the stats column, he also blazed onto the national scene with his amazing story of perseverance.
The Harvard grad transformed into a national phenomenon, as he went from being an unknown free agent to a Justin Bieber level of popularity in less time than it takes a 4-year-old to find the cookie jar.
With all of Lin's talent and marketability, it will be hard for New York to let this budding 23-year-old talent walk away. He put people in the seats of the Garden and created a buzz there that hadn’t been seen since the days of Patrick Ewing.
Despite Lin's out-of-this-world play early in his career, there were a few weaknesses in his game that were exposed with constant playing time at the NBA level.
The most pressing of these was his exceedingly high turnover rate.
For all of the positives Lin brought to the court, his numerous turnovers were a constant black eye.
In 2012 Lin averaged 3.6 turnovers per game, the sixth worst rate in the NBA. At times, Lin's play was reckless. He would attack the basket despite a congested lane, often resulting in an ill-advised pass and a quick transition bucket for the opponent.
He was also inconsistent running New York's offense, often putting the ball in the wrong spot on the floor and ineffectively running the half-court system.
Lin was also a liability on the defense end of the floor—but in his defense, the Knicks weren't known for their defense last season—as evidenced by Deron Williams 38-point outburst with Lin shadowing him the whole game. Lin doesn’t have great lateral quickness, and that hurt him when he had to cover elite guards like Williams.
Lin is young and still has time to work on these flaws, and eventually, he could become a very savvy point guard who limits turnovers.
Should the Knicks re-sign Jeremy Lin
However, it could be another free agent, not an aspect of Lin's game, which is the biggest con in bringing back "Linsanity" for another year.
Nash, a two-time league MVP, has expressed interest in finishing out his career in New York. Unfortunately for Knicks fans and Lin, Nash would likely come at the price of the mid-level exception that New York was saving for Lin.
For now, the NBA and the player's association are locked in a battle over Lin's Larry Bird rights. If the appeal goes in favor of Lin, the Knicks would have the flexibility to sign both him and Nash. If it doesn't, they would be forced to choose between the two.
And if it really came down to it, do you think the Knicks would go with the guy who's had 35 games of brilliance or the guy who's done it his whole career?
Lin may be young, and he may have some sizable holes in his game. But it is too early to give up on such a sensational talent.
If the Knicks are shrewd, they will do everything in their power to ensure that New York gets another season of "Linsanity."
It may not be the best move to win now, but it’s the intelligent move for the future.
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