NBA Free Agency 2012: Why Jeremy Lin Is Now the Top Point Guard Available

Kyle Stanzel@@DmndPrspctsCorrespondent IIIJuly 4, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 29:  Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks reacts during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden on February 29, 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 Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

With Deron Williams having officially resigned with the Brooklyn Nets, does this leave his New York counterpart—Jeremy Lin— as the best point guard available?

The remaining top point guards on the free agent market other than Jeremy Lin are seasoned veterans:  Steve Nash, Goran Dragic, Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, and Andre Miller.

Before the rest of the world goes up in arms at the thought of Lin being the best option on the market, let's take a look at a few things.

When Jeremy Lin was a starter for the New York Knicks, he averaged 18.2 points and 7.7 assists per game. The other big statistic for the inexperienced 23-year-old was the 4.7 turnovers he committed as a starter.

While he easily has the highest scoring average of any free agent point guard, and is second only to Nash in assists, the thing teams are most worried about with Lin is his ability to take care of the basketball.

While 4.7 turnovers per game is an abysmal number, it isn't exactly that far off from the other free agents in their best years.

When Steve Nash won the MVP award in 2005-2006, he averaged 18.8 points and 10.5 assists, but also turned the ball over 3.5 times per game. The year after that he averaged 3.8 turnovers per game.

Jason Kidd has averaged 3.0 turnovers per game over the course of his career and has averaged 4.0 turnovers per game in 1995-1996, which was his second season in the NBA.

Raymond Felton and Andre Miller have averaged just 2.6 turnovers per game over their careers, but both are coming off "down" years that saw them relegated to the bench while playing for mediocre teams.

Dragic only turned the ball over 2.4 times per game last season in a breakout year for the Houston Rockets. However much of his production came in the second half with the team out of playoff contention and under little pressure.

Dragic has just as much to prove next year as Lin does and he doesn't have the luxury of being a media superstar to fall back on.

Jeremy Lin has now had an entire year to learn what it takes to be an NBA point guard, and we should see an improvement in his ability to take care of the ball in 2012-2013.

He is easily one of the more marketable players in the NBA and "Linsanity" would certainly cause fans to get excited, whatever city he lands in.

Other than perhaps Steve Nash (who may be moving to his home country of Canada), there isn't a more popular point guard available for a team to sign than Jeremy Lin.

Lin is a restricted free agent, so the Knicks would be able to match any offer that he would receive. However a four year, $40 million deal, which the Houston Rockets are rumored to be offering, would put New York over the luxury tax.

Mike Woodson is certain that Lin will be back next year, and the Knicks appear to be willing to do anything to keep Jeremy Lin in New York.

Never before has a free agent with just 25 NBA starts created this kind of off-season frenzy.  It just goes to show how valuable Jeremy Lin could be to a franchise.