Linsanity: Can anyone stop Jeremy Lin?

Feb 15, 2012

The New York Knicks' Jeremy Lin spurred another wave of Linsanity Tuesday night when he launched a 3-pointer in a tie game with a half-second left against the Raptors in Toronto.

But can he keep it up? Does he have an Achilles's heel, or is this rising NBA star unstoppable?

Seth Rosenthal (@seth_rosenthal), editor at's Knicks blog, Posting and Toasting discussed Lin with readers.


- Jason Reid: Jeremy Lin's ethnicity only part of the story

- With winning shot in Toronto, Lin's amazing story gets a thrilling finish

- Jeremy Lin hits a game-winner. Linsanity rages on. (with video)

- How Jeremy Lin's star power could go unnoticed for so long

Hello, friends! I have gone Linsane and I imagine many of you have lost it as well. Let us sort through this Linsanity together.

How much of Jeremy Lin's success can we attribute to skill/talent and how much can we contribute to the fact that the league doesn't have much film of him and hasn't had time to adapt yet?

As you might expect, it seems to be a little bit of both. Early on, teams didn't know quite what to expect from Lin and let him take some very comfortable shots. Now, they know to force him left and keep him on the perimeter, but he's still managing to scrap his way to the basket. He's got weaknesses, and he can be slowed by attacking those weaknesses, but he's also smart enough to know what the defense is throwing at him and adjust accordingly.

What point guards do you feel that Jeremy Lin has the same type of style and game play?

This is a tough one. Folks keep mentioning Steve Nash, which seems a little convenient and not entirely accurate (mostly because Lin is noooowhere near the shooter or passer Nash is or was). I've also heard Mark Jackson (I'm not quite old enough to judge that comparison) and the very smart Dan from compared him to Tony Parker, which I like. To me, he's just Jeremy.

Can you describe what the atmosphere is like and the reaction to Jeremy Lin by the crowd at away games? They obviously want their home team to win but do they get excited by him scoring and making lots of assists and big plays?

It's been pretty funny. I haven't been to any of the games (home or away) since Lin's been a Knick, but you can tell ove rthe TV that there's a bit of a split personality in any road audience. For instance, in Toronto last night, the game started with a lot of people cheering every time Lin touched the ball. By the end, the real Raptor fans in attendance were actively booing the guy just to wash out the giddy cheering from folks with posters and homemade #17 jerseys. It's the kind of phenomenon you usually see with someone like Kobe or LeBron. The guy's got supporters pretty much everywhere.

This kid is just amazing over the last 10 days. But what I wonder is why he did not give up on a NBA career. No NBA team wanted him. He never was drafted and was cut by two teams and at the third, he was just a bench-warmer with no hopes of getting significant playing time or a contract. But he had a degree from Harvard and could have gotten a stable day job if he wanted. Those two years (or what ever) must have been very frustrating, yet he persisted. Hats off! I wish I had that kind of confidence in my dreams and abilities.

Yeah, it's incredibly impressive. Jeremy himself attributes a lot of his perseverance to his devout faith. It's not something I can really relate to, but it's admirable, and look where it's gotten him! If I was him, I'd be out on the street selling pigeons to people by now. His resolve is unparalleled.

Cake or pie?

Depends quite a bit on the flavor/baker, but I'd usually take pie. I imagine Jeremy's a pie guy, too. Blueberry.

What do you see happening with baron davis will the move landry to the bench and make way for baron as starter?

That's going to be suuuper interesting and perhaps a little awkward. To me, it seems like Baron's got a good sense of what's going on and his respect for the team and the circumstances outweighs his ego. One can't be quite sure, but I expect/hope that Baron will happily take a back-up point guard spot if Lin keeps this play up. He'd still see quite a few minutes, because the Knicks have pretty much nobody else to back up Lin.

Did you see any evidence in the game against Toronto that Lin and Amare' might be able to combine on P&R, etc., as Amare' once did with Nash?

Just a bit! Amar'e didn't set that many screens-- and the ones he did set he tended to slip-- but the two of them ran much more pick-and-roll action than Amar'e's seen all year with other point guards. I think it's unfair to compare it to the Nash-Amar'e P&R of old, which was near-perfect, but those guys are definitely going to connect a lot, both in P&Rs and in transition. (And Lin will also run plenty of P&Rs with Tyson Chandler, with Amar'e on the elbow or the weakside to stretch the defense.)

What will be Baron Davis' role when he returns and how well do you think Melo and Lin will coexist on the court at the same time?

Well, like I said before, I think Baron will be a back-up point guard who gets 20-30 minutes a night.

The Melo thing...I just don't know. The talk about him "buying in " is beyond played out, but a lot of this does boil down to Melo's own self-awareness. I'm hopeful, mostly because Anthony has been as selfless and team-oriented as he's ever been this season, and has only gone rogue when there were no other viable options (which, early in the season, was often). I think he'll be delighted to have another reliable ballhandler on the floor and more than happy to defer on occasion. Then again, one can't really know. If Melo lashes Lin to the basket stanchion and starts punting 40-footers at the backboard on every possession, forget I said any of this.

Would you rather be Jeremy Lin's dad or Jeremy Lin's son?

Definitely his dad. I like Jeremy but he doesn't seem like he'd be a "cool" dad, if you know what I mean.

Do you think the Knicks can win 8 in a row? More? The next two games look pretty winnable, both against teams well under .500. That said, #9 would have to come against the Mavs -- probably even more of a test than the Lakers. Think they can pull it off? When does Melo get added back to the mix?

Well, the Knicks have come inches/seconds away from losing each of the last two winnable games, so I'm not counting on anything. CAN they, though? Sure. Anything's possible right now.

As far as Melo goes, the word on the internet is that he could be back for the Friday game against the Hornets.

Are you too linsane to continue to do what toney douglas do?

Never. Even though Toney's going through some tough times and hasn't been D'ing WTDD himself, that doesn't mean we can stop doing it ourselves. DWTDD 4EVER

Hi Seth! If you're the Knicks, what do you do with that $2.5m exception they've got sitting around? I think it's been proven there's no longer a desperate need for more outside shooting, so can we rule out JR Smith? If so, is there anyone out there worth picking up? --Jared Brenner (jaybee on P&T)

Well, I still think the Knicks need some outside shooting (and I'd imagine they think so as well), but I'm not a big J.R. Smith fan (something about the fact that he dances around like a velociraptor after he hits threes and has tattoos that make it look like he has an infections rash). I'd almost rather that the Knicks just pocket that exception and let the guys who are currently on the team mesh/gel/bond/coalesce/ whatever. Melo and Josh Harrellson's returns to the lineup should help the shooting struggles, and I just don't think this team needs more rotational turnover at this point.

Do you believe that Lin can improve upon his turnover rate or is that just something that he'll have to deal with for his style of play?

I think his turnover rate will drop once 1. his usage drops and 2. teams can't focus on him as much defensively.

AKA, I think all of his numbers (including turnover rate) will drop once Melo returns. It'll be much tougher to climb on Lin's back and poach his passing lanes when Melo's on the floor. You can't really rotate off that guy. He's pretty good at sports.

What's it like on streets of NY right now? Really, how big is the buzz?

Well, uh, I've only been in the city once since Linsanity began...and it was pretty buzzy. For serious. I heard people chatting about it on the street, and saw more folks with Knicks apparel buzzing around the Garden than usual.

The streets of sleepy suburban New Jersey are pretty quiet aside from my dogs, who are currently barking at an empty stroller.

Is a Lin/Landry backcourt one that you're comfortable with going into the future? Do you see Shumpert starting ahead of Fields, or is the current lineup (+Carmelo, -Walker) the way to go?

It's entirely match-up based, I think. Landry's been starting, but he and Shump get pretty much even minutes (though I say that without actually looking at game logs to confirm). Shump's a bit more aggressive and versatile defensively, while Fields has been more reliable on offense (although Shump's been better of late), so D'Antoni can push whatever button he feels best suits the opponent. I'd expect him to mix and match a lot.

the supposed "experts" are saying that fans and MDA are giving JLin a pass on the high amount of turnovers that Jeremy Lin is committing just because he is winning, what say you?

I mean, the guy doesn't need a "pass" from us, but yes, Mike D'Antoni's allowed him to keep spinning even though he turns the ball over a lot. A big part of that is that he's got absolutely no other option. I'd rather Lin turn the ball over 30 times a game than revert to the Bibby/Douglas/Shumpert/A bowl of gazpacho point guard rotation the Knicks had previously.

I think you should give Lin a little more credit. SSS, but he's been passing very very well. Nash has pretty much always been a great shooter, but he wasn't an elite passer until he hit his prime. But I agree, there really isn't anyone quite like Jeremy.

Yeah, I suppose Lin does compare more closely to Nash early in his career (which makes sense because, ya know, Lin is at an exceedingly early point in his career).

Do you think Lin has the endurance in his legs to be logging so many minutes these past 2 weeks? Can the Linsanity continue?

The weird thing is that he's looked EXHAUSTED pretty much every night out there, but he just keeps ballin' through the fatigue. He's already slowed down a bit, and I imagine D'antoni's looking for every opportunity to curb his minutes. The All-Star break should do wonders for him, because he's definitely tired and hurting.

Seth just to say I've discovered PnT this past week in the grips of Linsanity. I hadn't willingly watched the knicks since the 90s. Thanks for providing a steady stream of crazed-but-balanced insights all day.

Thanks for reading!

Who is more likely to have long-term success as a starter -- Jeremy Lin or Tim Tebow?

I don't know who either of those people are.

Whats Going on with Toney, he had Jason Terry Type potential last year, is it his shoulder or something else. Walker has been playing pretty inconsistent, Id like to see douglas have a resurgence.

According to Jamie O'Grady of the Lohud Knicks Blog, Toney's having some personal issues behind the scenes. No idea what those are, but they might serve to explain some of his struggles. His shoulder might still be bugging him, too, which is a shame, because the Knicks could reeeeeally use him.

Has this been the most unexpectedly good week for the Knicks in history?

At least in my lifetime, yeah, I think so. Even better than that time Frank Williams was really good for a second.

This JR Smith situation is interesting, but does he hurt more than he helps? His presence would probably hinder Shumps' growth (which has shown real positive signs recently), limit Landry's playing time (who has also stepped up in this streak) while he is also a bit of a chucker and a headcase. Do we want him?

Well, when you put it that way...

I've read that the Knicks will be able to sign Lin after the season. how long of a contract can they sign him to? If it is just 2 years, will the Knicks have his "Bird rights" at the end of that contract?

This I don't even remotely understand, but I gather that the Knicks don't have "Bird Rights" but because of the "Arenas Exception" they can offer him more money than any other team can. Ken Berger, Howard Beck, and Knickerblogger have all published useful pieces on this topic.

Rookie of the year or Most Improved?

Well, he's not a rookie, but he is unquestionably the most improved player in the NBA this year. That said, I doubt he played enough minutes last season to qualify for that award.

Okay, everybody. That'll be it for me. Thanks for your questions! Stay hydrated!

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Seth Rosenthal
Seth Rosenthal is the editor of Posting and Toasting, a New York Knicks blog on the SB Nation network. He is also a New York Magazine contributor.
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