If you had asked me about Jeremy Lin a week or so ago, I probably would have said something like this: “It sure is nice of the Knicks to give a roster spot to that little guy from Harvard. We must really be desperate to fill up our bench.” Fast forward to this evening and you can find me screaming, “JEREMY LIN IS THE BEST PLAYER ALIVE!!!”
So how did I get here? Aside from my blind devotion to my favorite basketball team, it is Lin’s statistical performances over the past fortnight. Let’s look at the biggest stat first. In his first six starts as a New York Knick (and as an NBA player), Lin has led the Knicks to six straight wins. The team was 8-15 before Lin’s emergence. Now they are 14-15 and the hottest team in the NBA at the moment. That’s quite the dramatic turnaround from the team perspective, but wait until we look at his individual statistics.
Here is Lin’s stat lines during his first six starts (points-assists-rebounds): 25-7-5, 28-8-2, 23-10-4, 38-7-4, 20-8-6, 27-11-2. To summarize those numbers, he is averaging 27 points, 9 assists, and 4 rebounds per game. That is the best statistical start for any player, ever. That includes LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and even Michael Jordan. That’s not to say that Jeremy Lin will one day become the best player the NBA has ever seen…. but you can’t rule out the possibility.
Beyond the numbers, Lin has led an under-performing Knicks team to victories over quality teams such as the Utah Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Los Angeles Lakers. Individually, Lin has outperformed and out-dueled NBA stars such as Deron Williams, Paul Milsap, John Wall, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love, and whoever plays for the Toronto Raptors since Chris Bosh left. You can say what you want about it only being six games, but you can’t deny that Lin has stepped up and performed outstandingly against some of the NBA’s best players.
In a fortnight full of magical moments, Lin saved his best for Valentines Day. He led the Knicks to a come-from-behind victory over the Raptors by scoring the team’s last six points and sinking a three pointer with 0.5 seconds left to seal the victory. Forget about Carmelo and Amar’e, Jeremy Lin is the great beacon of hope in New York City.
Move over Tebow Mania. LIN-sanity is here to stay.