Two options: Either the New York Knicks haven’t watched a single Jeremy Lin game since he’s left the team, or their smear campaign against their former player is revived after a four-year hiatus.
A Brian Lewis article on the New York Post included a source telling him that the Knicks didn’t go after Lin in the offseason despite needing a point guard because of what they perceive as his struggles on the defensive end. Instead, the Knicks signed Brandon Jennings, a bad defender, and traded for Derrick Rose, who had better days in pretty much every aspect, including defense.
Assuming this is the real reason the Knicks didn’t sign Lin, it really doesn’t make any sense. Lin ranked 20th among all point guards in the NBA last season on ESPN defensive real plus-minus, ahead of both Rose and Jennings, while also leaving players like Rajon Rondo, Elfrid Payton, Dennis Schroder and one Kemba Walker behind.
And even without the statistics: Just sending a scout to see Lin play defense for a couple of games, or even turning on the TV from the comfort of their own homes, whoever makes the decisions, would have told them everything they need to know about Lin struggling on that end. Or not struggling to be a bit more accurate.
The myth about Lin being a bad defender, a liability on that end, has been dead and buried for quite some time. Last year with the Charlotte Hornets provided the final nail in that coffin. Lin can shut down — yes, shut down — quite a lot of point guards in the league, and has the ability to stop shooting guards as well, not to mention his ability to play a major part in great team defense with his excellent anticipation and timing.
The Ego of James Dolan & Carmelo Anthony
But there’s a better explanation to all of this. The Knicks don’t think Lin is a defensive liability. The man pulling the strings, James Dolan, just doesn’t like him. His ego couldn’t stand Lin outshining Carmelo Anthony in 2012. Anthony couldn’t stand it as well.
The Knicks bashed Lin after he chose to take the Houston Rockets offer and join them as a restricted free agents. Now, Lin is back in New York City, playing in Brooklyn and not Manhattan. For the last two years there have been rumors about Lin returning to the Knicks, but it never made sense. Not with Dolan as the owner, not with Anthony as the team’s franchise player.
Lin is in a better situation, in a healthier organization from the looks of things too. No matter where he goes, especially when he returns to the Big Apple and plays in Brooklyn, his arrival while playing on the Knicks will always be in the background of anything he does. But the Knicks are history as far as Lin is concerned. Too bad people in that organization can’t let go of whatever it is they haven’t against him.