Here’s the great thing about New York: there’s always a next story.
Like the time their football team won a Super Bowl, only to have its headlines replaced within days by the feel-good story of this ridiculous NBA season.
Move over Jay-Z. Jeremy Lin runs New York.
Since being called up from the D-league, the Asian-American Harvard graduate has posted three consecutive impressive stat lines as a New York Knick. Over that span, he has averaged 25 points and 8 assists. He has also averaged 78 blog posts and 23,201 tweets per day – and counting.
And hundreds of puns.
New Yorkers are going linsane over his lincredible week. Whatever skills or experience he may lack has been combatted with linception – or the ability to make an opponent believe what Lin wants you to believe.
What’s not to like?
Lin’s a free-wheeling, blue tongue-wagging point guard phenomenon. He’s crossed up John Wall, dunked on the entire Washington Wizards team, and made Steve Novak trend worldwide. He sleeps on his brother’s couch. And he’s not named Toney Douglas or Mike Bibby.
He’s fun to watch and, according to teammates, fun to play with.
“He’s what we needed, the whole time,” teammate Jared Jeffries told the New York Times.
Having said that, “Linsanity” may be short-lived.
Those three teams Lin excelled against – New Jersey, Utah and Washington – all rank in the bottom 10 in the NBA in defensive efficiency. Zach Lowe goes into greater detail about his opponent’s defensive ineptitudes. He shoots nine percent from behind the arc. He’s yet to have the privilege of playing alongside ball-stoppers Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. Plus his minutes will surely decrease when former point guard savior, Baron Davis, finally returns from injury.
I don’t want to belittle his accomplishments, because what he has done in his first meaningful minutes as a Knick is extremely impressive. But I couldn’t help but recall a similar situation in which I ignored reason for a new sports hero.
Because Jeremy Lin may very well be the next Matt Murton.
Murton was my favorite Chicago Cub, and I wasn’t alone. The up-and-coming outfielder averaged .321 and hit seven home runs in 51 games during his first season in the majors. The red-headed 23-year-old was the talk of town. His jersey flew off the shelves. Ladies traveled in droves to Wrigley Field adorned with “Matt, will you marry me?” signs. I freaked out when my friend caught a Murton foul ball.
And it was all downhill from there.
His first full season saw his average drop below .300 and to .280 the season after that. By his third full season he was dealt out of Chicago, and within two years he was out of the big leagues.
To be fair, would Knicks fans readily accept a single linspiring season? Absolutely. And to be fair, this comparison could make absolutely no sense.
All I ask is that overzealous Knicks fans give the kid more time, see what happens when teams finally gameplan for him, and let him face a difficult opponent, before labeling him the second coming and inevitably brawling over a $55 replica jersey. Then again, this is the same crowd that went crazy for the addition of Eddy Curry…
But, as they say, that’s why they play the game. Meaning Lin has the opportunity to shut me up and add to his lore. And it begins tonight, in his toughest test yet, against the Los Angeles Lakers and a certain someone yet to be swept up in “Linsanity.”
“I don’t even know what he’s done, like I have no idea what you guys are talking about,” Kobe Bryant said Thursday night. “I’ll take a look at it tonight, though.”
Yes he will. As will I and the band of Merry Linsters.