February 16th, just one month ago. One man was driving the world’s biggest city insane. 25 points here, 10 assists there. He hogged half of SportsCenter all to himself. He outshone Kobe in front of a national audience, then turned away the defending champs with career highs. T-shirts… t-shirts everywhere. Hell, Spike even rocked that crimson jersey. Jeremy Lin was John, Paul, George, and Ringo, all in one body.
Then, just as the entire basketball world was pleading Linsanity, star power arrived. Carmelo Anthony rejoined the mix, promising the world he wouldn’t dare interrupt the Jeremy Lin Show. Before long, however, New York’s favorite son was strapped into the backseat of a ride on a crash-course. The Melo-Mobile has since tossed one man from the wagon; as Anthony refused to comply with Mike D’Antoni’s offensive theories, we learned who’s really in the driver’s seat. What Carmelo wants, Carmelo will get. That leaves no man safe. Even the man that was once dubbed the savior.
What Carmelo Anthony refused to adhere to under the D’Antoni offense was spread-the-floor, pick-and-roll, shoot-if-you’re-open basketball. Every NBA player’s dream gameplan somehow was Melo’s nightmare– numbers agree, this is his worst statistical season since, well, ever.
The point guard-heavy offensive strategy is now out the window. New coach Mike Woodson’s prime offensive beliefs consist of iso’s and post-ups– a scorer’s delight (just take a look at Joe Johnson’s stats from 2005-2010). Woodson has declared that his offense will be ran through the likes of proven scorers such as Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire who, for what it’s worth, developed into a star under D’Antoni’s system. P&R point guards such as Jeremy Lin simply aren’t as necessary under this new ideology. So as Carmelo Anthony will likely flex his muscles while playing in the offense he’s wanted all along, where exactly does this leave Lin?
If you believe what you read, and if you use the logic Mike Woodson likely will in the coming days and weeks, the answer to that question is the second team.
Current second stringer Baron Davis will be the new man for the job, according to the NY Daily News. Davis has been around the block, and knows that his best bet for a ring is to feed the rock to Melo and Stoudemire. He’s ran the iso-style offense in the past, and after all, this is the job he signed up for back in December while rehabbing the back injury that delayed his season debut until after the Lin phenomenon had already kicked in.
The Knicks’ sensational second squad seems like a perfect fit for Lin, although it would mean decreased minutes. Aside from Tyson Chandler, players like Iman Shumpert, Jared Jeffries, and Steve Novak are the guys Lin was mainly distributing to when his starting gig was all new and shiny, with Stoudemire and Anthony both missing from the lineup.
However, due to D’Antoni “riding him like freakin’ Secretariat,” as he put it himself, and leaving the second-year wonder out there for 40+ minutes a game most nights, defenses perdictably adjusted relatively quickly.
Since teams have keyed on Lin as the primary option, his production has significantly decreased. While still putting up respectable points and assists totals, his turnovers and shooting percentage have become increasingly detrimental. His least productive start to date occurred Wednesday, Woodson’s first game as coach. Lin scored 6 points with 6 assists and turned it over 6 times. Baron Davis scored only 4 but with 10 assists in less minutes than Lin.
Although everybody loves a true Linder… err… Cinderella story, it appears as if this one is coming to a close. Though Jeremy Lin’s talent is not in question, he’s simply being overruled. Overruled by who, you ask? By the same teammate that spoke up and suggested that D’Antoni transplant him from the bench to the starting lineup: Carmelo Anthony.