Jeremy Lin’s moment is here. On Saturday, he led the Knicks to victory against the Nets by scoring 25 points, grabbing 5 rebounds, and dishing out 7 assists. Lin, who hasn’t received much playing time in the NBA, scored 12 points in the fourth quarter alone and catapulted the Knicks to victory.
This is especially exciting news for Lin fans. I’ve been following him ever since his senior year at Harvard, when he put up thirty points against UConn. Lin is a savvy point guard who is a great playmaker. Certainly, he’s not the first Asian NBA player, nor is he the most accomplished. Yao Ming, the seven-foot tall former Houston Rockets center has done far more in the league than Lin.
But Lin represents something more. Lin is American-born, unlike the Yao Ming, who was born in China. And Lin plays point guard – a position that requires playmaking skills. Guards are always more exciting to watch than slow moving centers. Lin’s game is definitely exciting: he was a Youtube sensation when he outplayed number one draft pick John Wall in a development league game.
Despite his formidable basketball skills, Lin has been struggling in the NBA. He seemed to hit rock bottom when he was cut from the Warriors and from the Rockets in a two week span. There were few signs that things would be different when he was picked up by the New York Knicks back in late December. As a Knick, Lin struggled to get playing time, and when he did, he failed to impress. His woes were compounded by the fact that the Knicks simply have too many guards. Why play this unproved, seemingly unimpressive Asian kid? Lin, along with the rest of us, waited for his moment. He continued to practiced hard as he continued to warm the bench.
Unbeknownst to him, an opportunity would soon appear.
The Knicks were struggling. Mightily. Going into Saturday’s game against the Nets, the Knicks had lost eleven out of their last thirteen games. Commentators pointed to multiple causes for the Knicks’ woes, but the most prominent argument was that the Knicks are missing a strong point guard.
That set the stage for one Jeremy Lin.
On Saturday, Lin did more than merely score a game high 25 points; he also made the players around him better. He threw alley-oops and laser-sharp passes to his teammates as they cut to the basket. Other Knicks guards tended to try to score on their own. Lin showed that he was better because he could do something they could not: he made his team a stronger overall team.
Hopefully his outstanding performance is a sign of things to come. Lin has strong fundamentals and hold lots of promise. He’s a true point guard who makes smart plays and passes the ball. I have no doubt that he could make big contributions to the Knicks this season. But even if he ends up on another team, the NBA now on notice.
Jeremy Lin got game.