From February 4th, 2012 to March 24th, 2012, the NBA was under the spell of a 23-year-old superstar that was never supposed to have cracked a starting lineup. This Harvard graduate went undrafted in 2010 and spent the next year-and-a-half playing minor minutes before being cut by both the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets.
Little did they know, the two unsuspecting franchises had just let go of one of the most marketable figures in NBA history.
The 49-day period previously alluded to became known as "Linsanity." The culprit behind this phenomenon was point guard Jeremy Lin, who lifted an 8-15 New York Knicks team to a 16-10 record from there on out.
Lin firmly established the Knicks as a postseason contender and sparked what ended up being a 36-30 record to close out a once disappointing regular season.
Unfortunately, Lin was absent from the final 17 games of the regular season.
Lin suffered a torn meniscus and has since been rehabbing in hopes of making a full recovery for the 2012-13 season as a member of the Houston Rockets.
Thus far, Lin appears none too confident in the progress he has made.
According to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, Lin is struggling to to reach the point of physical ability that he desires. You wouldn't have known this during Lin's preseason debut when he put up six assists, three steals and three turnovers in 20 minutes:
“My speed and my explosiveness and my agility [are not] there yet,” Lin said. “I’m still trying to recover from knee surgery and get to where I was pre-surgery. I probably won’t get to play too much. Hopefully, as the preseason goes on I’ll get to play more and more to build that endurance.”
Due to the severity of the injury that Lin sustained, there is a possibility that he may never make a full recovery. There is also the possibility that he is better than expected and will perform at a level similar to his pace in 2011-12.
We discover what the true issue is once we go beyond the physical nature of the injury.
If Jeremy Lin continues to lack confidence in his surgically-repaired knee, he will not be able to produce at the level expected of him.
As any athlete will tell you, a single moment of doubt in one's own abilities is all it takes for a play to break down. From hesitation on a pass into a tight lane to uncertainty about one's ability to achieve the proper hang-time on a layup attempt, uncertainty often leads to a failed attempt.
For a player who prides himself on his ability to work at a fast pace, this is of even greater importance.
For Lin to be able to run the floor and either facilitate or score, he must be able to trust his own body. While the basketball skills are there, his uncertainty surrounding his physical ability to perform could derail all attempts at transition scoring.
Lin will also suffer in the halfcourt, where his jump shot will be of extreme importance. Defenses are likely to close off the lane on the superstar, as they are well-aware of what he was doing in New York by tearing up interior defenses.
If he does not trust the rise on his jump shot, the buckets simply won't fall.
With a reputation as a game-changing superstar, Lin is likely to face an elevated level of defensive pressure. With a lack of talent surrounding him, the focus on his ball handling and playmaking will increase accordingly.
That is, unless Kevin Martin rediscovers his 20 point per game form from 2008, which was the last time he shot better than 45 percent from the floor.
With opponents focusing on him and a less than full recovery, Lin is preparing himself to face quite the uphill battle. Although he's proven capable of overcoming a mountain of adversity, this is the first time in his career that he has doubted himself.
If his confidence is not rebuilt soon, we may never see Linsanity again.
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