LINSANITY? No thanks.
With the Knicks travelling to Houston this week, an intriguing story line will be the Knicks decision to let Jeremy Lin go. When the Knicks did not match Houston's qualifying offer this past summer, fans everywhere started to panic. Jeremy Lin took Manhattan by storm last year and kept the Knicks alive when the entire roster was crushed with injuries. That being siad, he never gelled with Melo on the court; the Knicks could not afford to let him run the offense, and the fact that the Rockets were willing to pay him big dollars to leave NY was probably a great thing for the Knicks. By letting Lin go and bringing in Ray Felton and Jason Kidd, GM Glen Grunwald and Coach Mike Woodson made a statement that has resonated in the Knicks’ locker room: "OUR TIME IS NOW".
Going for a Ring
Jeremy Lin didn't play in last year's playoffs because he was going for a contract and knew that he could only hurt his stock by playing and under-performing. He claimed he wasn't ready to play, but reports surfaced that his knee was at 80% and he could have managed the pain. It's understandable that he sat out the rest of the year; his stock was at an all-time high and he did receive a huge contract offer from Houston this off-season. That being said, his decision to not play was a devastating blow for the Knicks that left them depleted at point guard down the stretch last season. Felton and Kidd are playing for a championship now and they fit the personality of this team better that Lin ever could. Lin's a young player that will experience growing pains; Kidd and Felton bring a veteran presence that know how to handle high-pressure situations (see last Wednesday in San Antonio).
Lin does not fit the blueprint of what this team is trying to do. The Knicks need someone that knows when to feed Melo, when to get the fast break going, and what to do in a half-court set. Lin was able to create opportunities for himself and was great at running the pick-and-roll, but he was not the efficient quarterback that this team needs. Felton and Kidd are true PGs that look to distribute the rock. They make Melo the focal point of the offense, which is exactly what he should be.
Lin was a liability on defense all of last year. He was consistently out-muscled by bigger point guards and does not fit Mike Woodson’s scheme. Ray Felton is fast and strong enough to get over screens and play consistently on the defensive side of the ball. The fact that he is playing with a chip on his shoulder makes him that much more tenacious. Kidd, although he lacks the lateral quickness of a 20-something, is a defensive genius. His extraordinary awareness and vision allow him to get into passing lanes and disrupt the opposition’s flow, particularly on the fast break.
The decision to not re-sign Lin and go for the veteran tandem of Kidd and Felton may be the best personnel move of this past off-season. The Knicks offense has been more consistent this season than it was last year, particularly in big spots. Felton and Kidd are leaders that have the respect of veterans like Melo and Tyson Chandler, which will steer the Knicks in the right direction all year long.