Don’t despair Knicks fans. The end of Linsanity is far from the end of the world. Yes, we all loved it and it will always be a part of Knicks lore. We’ll never really forget it.
But how about a little temporary amnesia? We could all use a case of that. Surely a deep playoff run, or taking the Atlantic for a third seed, or a championship even—how about, heck, losing in seven in the first round—all of these things, I promise, would make Linsanity seem like a passing fever.
And you know what, these things are all, some more than others, pretty much in the realm of possibility, with or without Jeremy Lin.
Actually, the team has improved in experience and depth with the additions of Marcus Camby and Jason Kidd, and, emotions aside—empirically—has upgraded at point guard with the return of Raymond Felton.
Forget about Linsanity? No, but it’s time to move on, and Felton is just the guy that will get us past this. If you remember correctly, Mr. Felton’s point guard performance was better than Mr. Lin’s. It’s true.
And all that fat talk? Felton has dropped 20 pounds and is back in form.
Here’s five ways he'll make us forget about Jeremy Lin.
As good as STAT was with Jeremy Lin, it was still an off year for the power forward in general. Once Carmelo Anthony “came home” and Raymond Felton went West last year, Stoudemire’s production fell off. Injury was part of the reason, too.
But bringing a (hopefully) in game-shape Raymond back will at least remedy one of Amar’e’s problems.
At the very height of Linsanity—a 20-game stretch in February and March—and with Carmelo Anthony out for part of that, Stoudemire scored 20 points only five times. The connection just wasn’t exactly working, not even close to the Felton-Stoudemire tandem.
Now, yes, coaching had a lot to do with that, and Carmelo Anthony and Mike Woodson had a lot to do with extinguishing that, but regardless of who is coaching, does anyone really believe Felton and Stoudemire are not going to be taking the pick-and-roll whenever viable, regardless of the game plan?
Stoudemire had the second best year of his career in 2010-11 with the very popular Felton running the floor, averaging over 25 points a game.
That won’t happen again, but he could very well average more than the 17 per game he did in the 22 games he paired with Lin. And that will still leave plenty of room for Carmelo Anthony to score 30.
Stoudemire was much happier when Felton was on the team, too, and oddly became increasingly introverted upon Felton's departure.
Jeremy Lin has a turnover problem, everybody knows that. It’s OK, sort of. He compensated in other areas, like scoring. Still, Lin averaged about 6.5 turnovers per 48 minutes during his time in New York.
It’s a bit of an erratic way to run the floor.
Raymond Felton has some turnover issues, but not as bad as Lin’s, averaging two fewer for the same time frame.
The Mike D'Antoni offense will let the point guard, if he has a shred of gusto, and everybody else for that matter, to score whenever humanly possible.
So was the case for both Jeremy Lin and Raymond Felton under Mike D.
But under Mike W., things are a little different and Felton's veteran experience and patience will lend to a more controlled, evenly paced offense.
I'm not convinced Jeremy Lin is durable. He was gone in 25 games essentially, and was a little slow to heal, failing to make it back for the playoffs (and he didn't look like he would have been ready for a second round either).
Lin is big—6'3" and 200 pounds—but this isn't the Ivy League, and until he's got a full season under his belt, no one really knows if he can even do it.
He complained early on about fatigue.
Raymond Felton is a machine. He averaged over 38 minutes per game with the Knicks and has never been seriously injured in seven full seasons, missing only 31 games in his whole career.
Let's see who will be on the floor more often in 2012-13.
The Knicks certainly have a shot at winning the Atlantic, and maybe more.
Take yet another step forward in the postseason—win at least a series—and the fans will think progress has been made. Go deeper than that and fans will, maybe not forgotten that Lin is gone, but forgiven.
We'll all be looking over our shoulder though, checking to see how Houston, and Lin, are doing. That's for sure.