Good Review of “Linsanity” Documentary

As you all know, “Linsanity” the documentary will be shown in theaters in October. The film has garnered positive reviews. Here’s a one that I came across and just thought I’d share it with you.

 

Linsanity: A show of good faith


By Robert Silverman
ESPN.com: TrueHoop
http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/61953/linsanity-a-show-of-good-faith

Linsanity. Do you still think about it? And if so, why? Is it a curiosity, an impish footnote in NBA history or a landmark event that we’ll be telling our offspring about for years to come? 

Filmmaker Evan Jackson Leong definitely belongs in the latter camp. His documentary “Linsanity” premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, opens in October in select cities and was screened this week in New York City. The Los Angeles Times wrote that it got a “rousing response, easily making it one of the most crowd-pleasing documentaries to play the festival this year.”

Leong has been interviewing Lin going back to his days at Palo Alto High School, well before the world took notice. He also has collected a vast treasure trove of Lin family home movies and yet-unseen high school and college camcordered game tapes to fully flesh out Lin’s improbable path to the NBA.

From the moment that a mop-haired, grade school Jeremy pounds out the same tune at a piano recital three years running, you’re hooked. It’s easy to forget, in the midst of the never-ending punning and the crass denigrations of Lin’s Asian heritage, that he, personally, is such a captivating, charming person. So genuine and unassuming. It’s clear that the last thing in the world he ever wanted was the trappings of fame, fortune and celebrity, and that if he had his druthers, he’d play without anyone watching, existing solely in a realm where perfecting his chosen craft counts for more than the result of his labors.

Once the film rolls clips from the Feb. 4, 2012 game versus the Nets, the incredible, boisterous, implausible energy that drove Linsanity comes barreling back full force. Even if you can recall each game during the wondrous 8-1 stretch, the instant those oft-replayed highlights begin to roll, you’re right back in the thick of it, wholly swept up in the feverish giddiness of it all.

Look, there’s the couch belonging to teammate Landry Fields that a semi-homeless Lin slept on during the beginning of his stint in New York! Ohmigosh, Lin was hours away from being released in favor of the immortal Mike James before his 25-point eruption against the then-New Jersey Nets staved off the executioner’s blade. There’s the blue waggling tongue after a trey, the buzzer-beater on Valentine’s Day to topple the Raptors, Kobe’s feigned lack of recognition, the whirling dervish spin move to flatfoot Derek Fisher during a 38-point outing in a victory over the Lakers, the comeback versus the defending champion Mavericks, and on and on. Pure, unadulterated bliss.

But if you’re not a Knicks fan with a particularly nostalgic bent, the question remains: What is it that still resonates so deeply? Save for brief fits and spurts this past season, for all intents and purposes, Linsanity is a thing of the past. Why all the fuss over an average-to-middling point guard? Raymond Felton proved to be a capable replacement at a fraction of the cost. The Knicks had their best season since their dizzying run to the Finals in 1999. An objective assessment of the current state of Knick Knation would have to conclude that all worked out for the best.

Does it still matter?

Here’s why I think it does: Beyond the improbable set of circumstances that surrounded Lin’s rise to superstardom, the overriding theme that pervades the film is that Jeremy Lin’s magical ride would not have occurred if not for his devout faith in God.

The documentary “Linsanity” is peppered with sequences that delve further into its subject matter’s faith. During a sequence detailing his struggles during his junior year of high school, he described how the defining thing that allowed him to expand his game as a creator/distributor as opposed to a pure scorer was realizing that, “God gives and takes away. God took what I really cared about at that time, and showed me that I can’t accomplish what I want to without him, that nothing in this world will happen not according to his plan.”

While addressing a group of kids at his summer basketball camp after his first NBA season, Lin declares, “God loves me, and that he has the perfect plan for me. His plan will take me through a lots of ups and downs, but if I stay faithful to him that in the end he will work everything for my good. Now when I play basketball, I don’t play for anyone else, I only play for God. That’s the type of purpose that he gave me, and once he gave me that purpose, is when I found my peace, and once I got my peace, that’s when I got my joy.”

In the film’s climactic voiceover, to slow-motion replays of Lin working like a fiend to develop his game, we hear Jeremy say, “God did something supernatural to me … Learning to fight to constantly live and play for God. And when I do that, I’ll walk on water.”

The film’s final credit line is, “And a very special thanks to God,” and its wordmark includes a lowercase ‘t,’ which looks remarkably like a crucifix.

There are people for whom phrases like these will ring absolutely true. There are others who won’t have a clue what he’s talking about.

In the name of full disclosure, I am definitely in the latter camp. I have nothing but respect for Lin’s faith. In fact, I envy it. But there is one realm in which our respective spiritual worldviews cross paths.

The reaction that many people had to Lin’s miraculous ascent was so intense, so filled with ecstatic joy, because fandom works in many ways similar to that of religious fealty. There is a set of traditions, values, heroes, villains and fables that are passed down by parent to child from generation to generation.

The war stories of terrible, gut-wrenching losses are told and retold with a measure of battle-scarred pride. We spend hours scouring articles, consuming unending streams of information, wagering of our emotional well-being on the outcome of a three-hour contest, and when faced with the horrifying fact that our team will fail (again), we do the same thing people have done since time immemorial: We pray, hoping beyond hope that our supplication might in some tiny way influence the actions on the court.

Lin was in a similar state of existential and spiritual despair. He knew he had the talent to succeed. He felt as if opportunities had been denied to him for reasons utterly beyond his control, but what kept him going even in his darkest moments ready to chuck the dreams he’d harbored since childhood into the bin, was an unquenchable belief that it was all part of a plan. God’s plan.

Amazingly, said plan did reveal itself, and in a miraculous fashion. At the defining moment of his life he seized the day. His faith was not only rewarded, it was vindicated in spectacular, glorious fashion. And for Knicks fans, who were absolutely at their wits’ end, after a decade marked by not only futility, but humiliation and mockery, ready to give up on yet another seemingly doomed squad, it’s entirely logical to see Lin as a savior-like figure who descended from the heavens (or at least the rafters of MSG).

Within the context of a valley of futility so deep and wide, it’s not surprising that Lin would inspire such a profound, overwhelmingly joyous reaction; that he could reaffirm the notion that there are such things as magic and beauty and maybe even the occasional otherworldly intervention in this world.

Of course, the film doesn’t detail what transpired after Linsanity ended. The injuries that cut his season short are omitted entirely as is any unpacking of the circumstances regarding the contract he signed with Houston. It’s understandable, from the filmmaker’s perspective, partly because it takes a long time to complete and edit a feature and partly because it’s a myth, of a sort. Ending the film with a more human, mundane coda is not how one recounts the heroic exploits of legends.

Maybe it’s absolutely foolhardy to think of Lin — or any player or team — in such terms. Maybe that degree of fanaticism is just plain bad for the soul. As a Knicks fan, I was absolutely devastated when Lin left New York. But leaving the theater, I wasn’t in the throes of some shirt-rending despair. I was smiling, laughing at myself at the folly of it all. You can love and experience loss and go back. There will be more stories, new loves, and new heroes. We’ll forget and remember and forget all over again. Linsanity is meaningless and totally meaningful.

And that’s OK.

Robert Silverman is a TrueHoop Network blogger and co-author of “We’ll Always Have Linsanity.”

Excellent article clearing up misconceptions about Lin’s free agency process

Here’s the link to the article:

http://forums.realgm.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=1197049&sid=430c780203176f6083e2cbae43576882

 

I’m posting it here for posterity. I love it when people take the time to clear up misconceptions in general. With Lin, there appears to be so many misconceptions out there. Clyde Style does an excellent job of clearing up all the false statements people have been making about Lin’s involvement in his free agency process.

 

Realism About Lin’s Free Agency Process

Postby Clyde_Style on Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:24 pm

There is one thing I believe needs some clarification so going forward people can be clear headed about who was responsible for what transpired during Lin’s free agency process.

Unfortunately, it is convenient for some to blame Lin for things he simply did not control. It is only fair to him that Knicks fans move on with a fair picture of what he is truly accountable for and not villianize him inappropriately.

There some basic facts that are being misinterpreted. These need to be stressed over gossip if you have any interest in being accurate and fair.

1. The Knicks could only offer a smaller contract based on base salaries rates and percentage increases that would be significantly smaller than a contract Lin could get on the open market.

2. The only way the Knicks could pay Lin what a salary in the price range he was expected to get was by letting him receive offer(s) from other teams and then matching it.

3. The Knicks could NOT pre-empt this process by offering something like $25-30M over 3-4 years without Lin getting an offer from elsewhere first. He had no choice but to solicit a competing bid from another team first.

4. There is no reasonable basis for any fan to claim Lin should have immediately settled for $10M less by simply signing with the Knicks and foregoing the free agent process. There is no precedent for this to support Lin was greedy. He was simply playing according to the rules. If there is any blame for him having to get an offer first and you need to point fingers, blame the CBA, not Lin and not the Knicks. They were just going through the necessary steps dictated by the rules.

5. Lin had the obligation to negotiate in good faith with any team that expressed interest in him. This means he had to be prepared to play for any team he negotiated with. Aside from some common misunderstandings about the technical rules forcing him to do this, the most common misunderstanding is this: LIN COULD NOT NEGOTIATE WITH ANOTHER TEAM IN BAD FAITH AND USE THEM TO STAY WITH THE KNICKS.

6. Because he was forced to go into the open market to set his market rate, Lin had NO CHOICE but to deal honestly with any team bidding for his services. This transcends sports and is a fundamental tenet of conduct business, while it is probably unique to sports in how the process puts the free agent in the middle between a team holding his rights and the need to solicit a competitive bid from another.

7. Once he enters this process with the other team, basic protocol requires him, and primarily his agent, to work under the assumption he may actually be playing for the bidding team and not his former team. He cannot undermine the bidder. The Rockets were bidding for Lin for themselves and Lin is required to allow this process to go forward. He cannot undermine the bidding team by playing footsie with the Knicks under the table. He is required to deal exclusively with the bidding team until their offer is made.

8. Contrary to repeated statements by some fans, Lin and his agent therefore have no right nor ability to simultaneously inform the Knicks of the negotiations with the Rockets. People claiming Lin owed the Knicks an on-going explanation is false as it is basically illegal.

9. Lin could very much have wanted the Knicks to match, but he had zero power to influence the outcome as some propose. He could not go behind the Rockets back to tell the Knicks of impending deals and then communicate back to the Rockets this would not suit the Knicks. This is beyond absurd. This is not only impossible, it is completely unethical, so anybody who still claims Lin was manipulating the situation to force a deal the Knicks would not match is not dealing with the realities of the process itself.

10. The Houston Rockets needs drove their offer terms, not Lin’s personal needs. To discuss this as if the Rocket’s motives were anything other than placing a winning bid can make it falsely sound like the Rockets were driven by additional motives such as screwing the Knicks out of spite alone when the facts are the Rockets calculated they could only place a winning bid by screwing the Knicks to the hot seat and pushing them too deep into the tax space to match. This is Houston’s doing, not Lin’s.

11. There is no basis for saying Lin told Houston their first reported offer was insufficient and he deceived the Knicks about the actual contract terms. Houston raising the offer is in no way proof that Lin was conspiring with the Rockets to not have the Knicks match. Again, Lin could not play one side against another for his purposes. He had to play ball with the Rockets and let the Rockets determine their own strategy best regardless of what it mean to his future with the Knicks.

12. The concept that the Rockets changing the terms of an initial verbal offer to a higher written offer is dishonorable is false. If there was a provision stating this was in violation of any NBA rule, then the Rockets would have been penalized, but it doesn’t exist. The Rockets raising the offer was a competitive business decision designed to win the bid and if anyone punked the Knicks, it was the Rockets, not Lin or his agent. Lin is not responsible for a change in offer terms, the Rockets are. Spinning it like it was is just gossip, not an assertion supported by the process facts themselves.

13. The Knicks were the vocal element in the market price setting process, NOT LIN. The Knicks made statements from Woodson and front office sources they would match any price. Why would they do this? Draw your own conclusions, but this was not Lin or his agent playing games with the Rocket’s mindset, it was the Knicks. If anybody is responsible for goading the Rockets into upping their bid, it was the Knicks leaking to the press their intentions. Lin’s intentions were dictated by the free agency process and by comparison his team kept quiet during it.

14. Therefore, Lin’s agent could not go back to the Knicks and inform them of the Rockets intention to raise their offer. THIS WAS NOT AN OPTION. So anybody claiming Lin owed the Knicks the courtesy of informing the Knicks of the Rockets change of game plan simply don’t know what they are talking about. This is not permitted. They had to do business with the Rockets first and then let the Knicks respond. Period.

15. Contrary to some comments, Lin was required to accept the Rocket’s offer. He was forced by the CBA structure to solicit a market bid for the Knicks to consider matching. And Lin had only one team making that offer. His hands were tied. He had to sign Houston’s offer and let the Knicks respond.

16. Lin did not have the ability to either keep the Knicks in the loop or request the Rockets make the terms less difficult for the Knicks to match. And he could not tip off the Knicks. THIS IS BUSINESS PROCESS, so please stop spreading lies about what Lin and his agent owed the Knicks as if they even had that option.

I welcome any clarification, but please use these points for sincere appraisals of what went done, not fantasies about Lin’s loyalty to the Knicks. He betrayed no one. He went through the same process other free agents go through all the time and he did it without any drama from his camp. The only drama came from the Knicks themselves, so don’t blame Lin for this.

 

It’s a miracle! Knicks Let Lin Leave.

Since the end of the season, I’ve been making a case on this blog that staying with the Knicks will hold Jeremy Lin back (see previous posts). So I’ve been very excited about the news that the Knicks have finally decided to let Lin go. I think Jeremy Lin’s God must have something to do with it, because nobody ever expected this to happen. It seems like everything about this kid is unexpected. Right now, Houston is still a team that’s in flux at the moment, but it appears that Lin won’t be facing any of the issues that would plague him had he stayed with the Knicks.

From the articles that I’ve been reading today about this big news, it’s pretty clear to me that Rockets management wanted Lin a lot more than the Knicks did. I think Rockets management have a genuine appreciation for Lin’s talents on the court, as well as his work ethic and everything he stands for–not just for his marketing assets. I can’t say the same for the Knicks organization. So I’m glad he’s at a place where he’s really wanted.

We’ll see what the Rockets team ends up looking like, but I’m very optimistic that Lin will have a great season (as long as he stays healthy). I’m sure he’s working hard this off season on every aspect of his game. He’ll need it, because you know he’s going to be a target this upcoming season–perhaps even more so than during Linsanity.

Here are some articles that I enjoyed reading:

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8174968/jeremy-lin-leaving-new-york-knicks-james-dolan-blundered-again

http://www.nba.com/rockets/news/stop-insanity

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/basketball/nba/07/18/jeremy-lin-exclusive/index.html?eref=sihp&sct=hp_t11_a0

Here’s an over-the-top reaction to Knicks not matching Lin’s offer by Lin’s number 1 Fan:

Lin leaving the Knicks would be good for the Knicks, Lin and basketball fans

Everything involving Lin this off season has been pretty much expected as far as I’m concerned, except for the news yesterday that the Knicks have acquired Felton. Now Lin’s chances of leaving the Knicks has jumped from 0% to something like 65%. Why not higher you might ask? I know there have been a lot of news reports saying that the Knicks will not keep Lin. I think at this point, the Knicks are still genuinely trying to see if they could make it all work by keeping Lin and moving Felton to the shooting guard position or vice versa. The marketing dollars that Lin provides to the Knicks is still too enticing for Dolan to give up altogether. However, if they’re thinking purely about basketball, then it makes absolutely no sense to keep Lin now that they have Felton. One could argue that even though they will have four point guards if they keep Lin, they’ll still have the same number of total guards that they had last year: 7.  But the difference is that the caliber of the guards is higher and once Shump comes back it will be a logistical nightmare for Woodson to try and get minutes for all of his guards. That’s going to create a lot of chemistry issues. So that’s why I say that if the Knicks are solely thinking of the game of basketball, giving up Lin is the right decision.

In my personal opinion, Lin leaving the Knicks would be good for the Knicks, good for Lin and good for basketball fans. If you want to see what Lin is capable of, then you’ll be rooting for him to go to the Rockets. If Lin stays with the Knicks, he’ll be more or less a glorified passing machine. I’ve discussed this at length in my previous posts, so I won’t go into it here. However, I will mention that my case has been strengthened by the point guards that the Knicks have acquired: Kidd and Prigioni. Both are veteran pass-first point guards who are brought in to train the scorer out of Lin.

The Rockets, at this stage, still has a lot of maneuvering to do in the off season. But it’s very likely that Lin won’t be facing any of the unique issues that he will face if he stays with the Knicks. So he’ll more or less have free reign to play his game of basketball. The only major concern that remains is his conditioning and if he can figure out how to play in different gears (something that Kidd mentioned he wants to teach Lin) so he can be healthy for an entire season. So if Lin goes to the Rockets, I think basketball fans will be treated to more Linsanity. But if he stays with the Knicks, he won’t be the same player that we saw during Linsanity, because Knicks just simply don’t need Jeremy Lin to go Linsane. Again, I’ve detailed all of this out in my previous posts. So go there if you’re interested in more of what I have to say about how Lin meshes with the Knicks.

Not sure how you all feel, but I’m rooting for him to go to the Rockets–both as a Lin fan and as a basketball fan. At the end of the day, though, staying with the Knicks won’t be so bad for Lin, since I think the Knicks have a good chance of making a deep playoff run this upcoming season, while the Rockets remain a wild card at this point. As I’ve said before, Lin will be fine either way.

SIDE NOTE: I’m really surprised that the Knicks appear to be taken aback by the Rockets’s new offer sheet. I mean, what did they expect? Lin is a marketing machine. I fully expected him to get this type of a contract. In fact, I was surprised at the lack of potency of the Rockets’s initial poison pill. The new contract is more in line with what I expected Lin would get in the off season. Those who feel otherwise, aren’t fully appreciating the fact that the NBA is a business, after all, whether we like it or not.

Related Post: https://jeremylintelligence.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/staying-with-woodsonmelo-knicks-would-hold-jeremy-lin-back/

NBAPA’s Bird Rights Dispute: Implications for Jeremy Lin

I’ve noticed some confusion about the NBA Players Association’s dispute on Bird Rights. So I just want to simplify things a bit and untangle some of the confusion as it pertains to Jeremy Lin. Without going into too much detail, which would further confuse, here’s the gist of it.

The main intention of Bird Rights is give teams the ability to re-sign star veterans to maximum contracts (a figure calculated based on the number of years a player has played in the league) even if it puts the team over their salary cap. There’s several other details, such as the player has to be playing on the same team or contract for three consecutive years to get Bird rights. The catch is, that if a player is traded, he and his new team retains his Bird rights if he plays out his 3-year contract with the new team. Bird rights currently don’t apply to players that are taken off waivers, which Lin and Novak were. This has never been considered, because players that come off waivers don’t become stars. So no one really cared about giving Bird Rights to players off waivers before. But now that Lin (and Novak) have become stars, the player’s union is trying to argue that players coming off waivers should have Bird Rights in tact, because a new contract was never drawn up. This is important for the Knicks hopes of keeping Lin (and Novak), because it allows the Knicks to match any offer from another team (including back loaded offers), without it affecting their salary cap. Right now, the Knicks are severely hindered, because of their salary cap situation. If they keep Lin, they may need to use their full MLE (mid-level exception) worth $5 million and basically won’t be able to keep Novak or even go after another player, like Nash. I, for one, don’t want Lin to stay with the Knicks for his own sake, so I’m hoping the NBPA loses their case.

If the NBAPA wins their case, then Knicks can match any offer (without being worried about going over their salary cap) and Lin is forced to stay with the Knicks, since Lin is a RESTRICTED free agent. This is why in theory, Bird rights is advantageous for BOTH players and teams, because teams don’t have to take into consideration their salary cap when making offers to players with Bird Rights, so players have a good chance of getting the maximum contract. So that’s why the NBAPA is taking this opportunity to better define the terms surrounding Bird Rights and expand its application. Since I don’t think it is advantageous for Lin’s development to have him stay with the Knicks, I’m hoping the NBAPA loses their case, because that is the ONLY chance Lin has to get picked up by another team, since he’s a RESTRICTED free agent. Because if the NBAPA loses their case, then Lin doesn’t have Bird rights, so the Knicks will have a lot of difficulty matching a very lucrative back-loaded contract by another team, since it will really hurt their salary cap. I’m not saying that the Knicks can’t match. I’m saying that it would be ill-advised for the Knicks to match, because they’ll be dealing with a lot of salary cap issues down the road. Knowing Dolan and his short-sighted decision-making, he’ll probably do it anyway. Hope that all makes sense.

This is pure speculation on my part, but I think there’s a very good chance that the NBAPA will win the case. Before Jeremy Lin, Bird rights weren’t given to players coming off waivers because there was no reason for it. But Jeremy provides a clear case in which there’s reason for it. So if you don’t want Lin to stay with the Knicks, then this is not good news, because if the Player Union wins this case, then I’m 100% certain that Lin will stay with the Knicks, because without any salary cap issues, Dolan will match any offer from any team no matter how outrageous (and I have a feeling that offers for Lin will get pretty outrageous). Dolan knows how valuable Lin is–especially marketing-wise. And Dolan also loves big name players and there’s no bigger name in sports right now than Jeremy Lin. So he’ll do everything in his power to retain Lin. To make matters worst, Lin will probably be signing a multi-year contract with the Knicks, since other teams will back-load their offers for Lin (meaning giving him a four year contract, for example, so they can increase the third and fourth year of the deal significantly) and the Knicks will be forced to match the offer if they want to retain Lin, which they most certainly will.

Anyway, if you are rooting for Lin to leave the Knicks for his own sake, then things aren’t looking good. For the most part, Lin’s future is in the hands of the Knicks, since he’s a restricted free agent. The only way out for Lin is the Knicks awful salary cap situation. But if the NBAPA wins their case, then Lin essentially loses his only way out of the Knicks, because salary cap won’t be an issue in retaining Lin. All that being said, in the bigger scheme of things, Lin will still get to play the game he loves, most likely in a starting role–a dream that seemed impossible before February. So Lin will be just fine. Lin has dealt with way more adversity in the past so he’ll be able to handle anything that comes his way as long as he continues to use his wisdom and assert his will. Also, I think with Lin the Knicks have the missing piece to be serious contenders next season. We had a sampling of how great the Knicks could be under Woodson with Lin, Stat, Melo, Chandler all together. They went 6-1, but more importantly they didn’t just win, they demolished teams–including a back-to-back beating of a hot Indiana Pacers team. So Lin could be a part of a deep playoff run if he stays with the Knicks. That couldn’t be bad. Just looking at things on the bright side. So Lin fans need not worry too much about Lin.

Related Post: https://jeremylintelligence.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/staying-with-woodsonmelo-knicks-would-hold-jeremy-lin-back/

Staying with Woodson/Melo Knicks would hold Jeremy Lin back

There’s no doubt that the Knicks want Jeremy Lin back next season (if only for his marketing value and also the fact that Knicks fans would be storming Dolan’s mansion with pitchforks if Lin isn’t re-signed) and there’s a very good chance that the Knicks will get their wish due to the “Gilbert Arenas” provision (http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm#Q44), which limits other teams to the mid-level offer. However, there’s a chance that teams can back load the offer by increasing the third and fourth year of the deal significantly. (http://www.hoopsworld.com/nba-am-can-the-knicks-get-steve-nash-3) If this happens, it makes it extremely difficult for the Knicks to keep Lin, because of the Knicks’ salary situation. For Jeremy’s sake, I hope another team that understands and respects Lin’s game and his being makes an offer the Knicks can’t match, because I think Lin’s development will be severely limited with the Knicks for a number of reasons that I will go into.

I know Jeremy is loyal to his team and teammates to a fault. But he shouldn’t feel like he owes the Knicks organization anything. What he has done for the Knicks organization, not to mention the NBA, is tremendously disproportionate to the opportunity that the Knicks gave him out of sheer desperation. There’s nothing more he needs to do for them.

I do like the Knicks and I like Jeremy. But I don’t trust this Knicks organization–especially if they’re thinking of bringing back Isaiah in any capacity. This is the genius that tweeted to trade Lin for Fisher. And they’ve had a history of making very poor management decisions that have been well documented, so I won’t dwell on it here. They just don’t seem like an organization that either knows how to or is interested in developing their players. Things may change for the better now that Grunwald is the GM, but Dolan is still at the helm.

Management is one thing, but the person that has the most influence over a player’s development is the coach. It looks like Mike Woodson will return as Knicks head coach. If this is the case, I don’t think he’s the right coach for Lin, but probably not for the reasons that have been touted. Yes, Woodson is known for his isolation-heavy offense and has a history of it. But I think during the year off of coaching, he had time to think about it and I think he knows that he needs to move away from his iso-heavy offense. We all witnessed a hint of this after he took over for D’Antoni and both Lin and Stat were playing with Melo. Woodson combined some iso, as well as pick-n-roll, spread the floor D’Antoni offense. Now, I’m not sure if this blend was because he had just taken over as Interim coach and didn’t have time to implement more of his offense. We will only know for sure next season. I think it may be unfair to judge his offense after Lin and Stat went out and he went back to an iso-heavy offense. I think it had more to do with necessity (i.e., they didn’t have anyone but Melo who could score consistently) than him enforcing his iso-heavy system full-force. But, again, we won’t know for sure until next season. If it turns out that Woodson hasn’t learned anything during his time off, as well as his experience in the first round with Miami, and sticks to an iso-heavy offense next season, then that’s not an offensive system that Jeremy Lin would thrive in. One evidence that does favor this scenario is that Woodson appears to favor Melo over all the other players on the team (with the exception of Chandler), so he may stick to an Iso-Melo offense. Under an Iso-Melo offense, Jeremy’s talents would be completely wasted and he would take a step back after making such great strides during Linsanity.

Even if it turns out that Woodson favors team-offense over Iso-Melo, I still think Woodson is not the right coach for Jeremy Lin, because of one very important reason. From what you’ve read so far, you may think I don’t like Woodson. But it’s not true, if you’ve read my previous posts, I actually think Woodson is a fine coach, because he knows how to communicate to his (star) players. Sure he has his faults and is still not a proven coach in the playoffs. But he was dealt a pretty bad hand during the first round with Miami–everything that could have possibly gone wrong for the Knicks did. However, the main issue I have with Woodson is that he has MAJOR trust issues with young players and this is the biggest reason why I think he would hold Jeremy back. He has this thing that he picked up from Red Holzman that young players should just sit, listen and learn. And it’s been ingrained in his DNA. He repeats this every chance he gets and it makes me want to rip his throat out every time. He says it like it’s some profound thing. But it’s a very shortsighted view of things and I think it’s made him make costly coaching decisions. He’ll trust players to a fault, simply because they are veterans, whereas any young player has to prove themselves time and time again regardless of how talented, wise, or knowledgeable about the game they are. This has caused him to play a Chandler, delirious from the flu in Game 1, rather than give a healthy Harrellson a chance. It’s also made him stick with a gimpy Baron Davis who makes terrible decisions on the court time and time again and takes bad shots over and over without consequence it seems. It’s also made him trust JR Smith, who also makes poor decisions, constantly fouling shooters at the three point line and taking bad shots and making bad passes time and time again. But he trusts these guys, simply because they’re veterans. “They’ve been tested” is another tired phrase that he repeats over and over again, like it’s some wise saying.

I think Woodson’s debilitating distrust of young players will be a problem for Lin no matter what type of offensive system he runs, because he won’t give Lin the respect that Lin deserves. Whenever I hear Woodson speak about Lin, there’s always this sense that Lin still has so much to learn. It’s very condescending. Don’t get me wrong, I think Lin does have a lot to learn (after all, he didn’t play the point guard position until he got to the NBA–a fact that escapes most people) and Lin knows he has a lot to learn. But I just don’t see Woodson giving Lin much respect, simply because Lin is a young player. I think that’s extremely shortsighted of Woodson. Okay, I get that experience is important. But every player is different. There’s plenty of veterans out there who don’t have wisdom and make poor decisions on the court (i.e., JR Smith). Yet Woodson trusts JR to a fault, simply because he’s a veteran. And he questions Lin, who has more wisdom than most veterans on and off the basketball court. It’s clear from the way Lin plays and the way he breaks down the game during post game interviews that he has a very high basketball IQ and understands the game from a very deep level.

Woodson speaks about Lin, as if he doesn’t recognize that Lin essentially saved the season, just like Melo saved the season in April for the Knicks. Woodson needs to recognize this and give Lin the level of respect Lin has earned. He talks about Lin as if he’s any other young player that needs to be taught so much about the game. The way Woodson talks about Lin disregards everything Lin has done for the Knicks. That’s what’s condescending and raises alarms for me about Woodson coaching Lin. This, above all else, is why I think staying with the Knicks under coach Woodson will hold Jeremy back. I feel like under Woodson, Lin will keep having to prove himself.

Lin is at his best when he is trusted to lead the offense in the same way that Chandler leads the defense on the court for the Knicks. But there’s no way that Woodson would let a young player take on that role. But that’s what Lin excels at. It’s part of his game. And this brings me to Melo. A lot of people have been talking abut Melo’s ability to play nice with his teammates. At first, I thought all this talk was over-hyped and didn’t really buy into all of it. Now I’m not so sure. I think he went into Iso-Melo mode late in the season because both Lin and Stat were out and he was the only consistent scorer. But he seemed to really relish it and he seems to really excel when he’s the only offensive option on the court. There’s nothing wrong with this, necessarily. It’s just the way he plays best. And Melo needs a group of guys around him who support this type of offense. Stat isn’t that supporting cast for Melo and neither is Jeremy. That’s why the whole thing has been such a struggle and Knicks management is to blame, not the players. Not Melo. Not Stat. Not Lin. Not even the coach.

Jeremy Lin’s talents would go to waste alongside Melo, because they essentially play similar roles. Okay, I get that they play different positions, but they’re both guys who are comfortable shooting from anywhere and driving to the lane. The only difference is that Lin is also looking to pass when he drives into traffic, whereas Melo is primarily looking to score. Again, no knock on Melo. That’s just the way he plays. He’s a talented and prolific scorer. A scorer who doesn’t need an aggressive Point Guard. Melo just needs someone to pass him the ball and stay in the perimeter so he can pass it out if he gets double-teamed. It’s more important that Melo’s point guard can shoot rather than drive and create. So that’s another reason why I think staying with the Knicks would hold Jeremy back. Playing with Melo would limit his opportunities to do what he does best, which is to explode to the basket and create for himself or for his teammates, depending on what the defense gives him.

Finally, Woodson’s primary job on the offensive end, or at least the thing he will be most  focused on during training camp is to resolve the whole debate on whether or not Melo and Stat can coexist. Lin is that answer for Woodson. So under Woodson, Lin’s primary (if not sole) job would be to help solve the whole “can Melo and Stat” coexist debate. So all Woodson wants for Lin to do is become almost purely a passer and give Stat and Melo the ball where they like it. However, Lin is at his best when he’s creating ALMOST EQUALLY for himself and his teammates. He’s not a traditional point guard who is purely a passer. He’s also a very talented scorer, as I’ve mentioned. But Woodson would train the scorer out of Lin and Woodson would be right to do so. Turning Lin into almost purely a passer might be GOOD for the Knicks, but not good for Lin’s development. You combine Woodson’s core objective on the offensive end (i.e., resolving the Melo/Stat co-existing debate), Woodson’s love of superstars, Woodson’s distrust of young players, Woodson’s lack of adequate respect for Lin (that’s proportional to what Lin has done for the Knicks) and it’s not hard to see that Lin’s talents will go to waste staying with Woodson/Melo Knicks.

I would love to see Lin with the Knicks for my own selfish reasons, since I enjoy rooting for Lin and the Knicks. I actually enjoy watching all of the Knicks players. Every single one of them is enjoyable to watch–with the exception of Baron Davis. And I’m also a big fan of Chandler, Shump and Novak. But Lin should find a coach and organization that respects Lin’s game and his being. Unfortunately, I just don’t think that’s with the Knicks. If Lin does end up with the Knicks, which is very likely, then he should not sign a multi-year contract.

I think Lin needs to go to a place where he can be trusted to run the offense on the floor. Jeremy Lin is a rare point guard who is also a talented scorer. So he needs to go to a place where he’s one of the primary scoring options. If D Williams leaves the Nets, then that’s a team that comes to mind. However, I admittedly don’t know anything about the coach there, so can’t say for sure if it’s the right place for Lin. The advantage is that he’ll be able to stay in New York–a big media market. Lin may also benefit from going to a team that’s in a re-building phase, such as the Portland Trailblazers or even the Bobcats. Sure, he won’t be contending for a title, but at least he’ll be able to develop his game and keep improving as a player, which is more important for him now than getting rings.

I’m confident that with Lin’s support network of family and friends, as well his own wisdom and intelligence, Lin will come to the same conclusion and do everything in his power to avoid signing with the Knicks. I hope this is why he has been so hesitant about his future with the Knicks during interviews.

In my ideal world, Lin, Chandler, Novak, and Shump would be in a team without Melo and Woodson. Again, not hating on Melo or Woodson. It’s more about the chemistry of the players. Everyone is talented in their own right, but it’s the right combinations of players that’s crucial for a team to compete for a ring and this is what the Knicks organization seem to fail at time and time again.

Side Note: Perhaps my worst fear would be for Lin to feel like he owes D’Antoni something and joins D’Antoni for a number of reasons. Sure, D’Antoni’s system is a dream for point guards of Lin’s caliber, because it allows him the freedom to create. I think that’s great, but I just have zero respect for D’Antoni as a coach, so I don’t think Lin will get much out of the relationship, whereas D’Antoni will get everything. This is an oversimplification, but I see D’Antoni as a very lazy coach that just sits back, tells his guys to spread the floor and has his point guard do all the work for him. This way, he doesn’t have to run any actual plays. All he needs is a talented point guard and players to buy completely into a spread offense and voila!

To me, this is not good coaching. D’Antoni misses many aspects of the game and I’ve pointed out in my previous posts his blatant substitution and timeout mistakes during games. More importantly, he can’t get his players to play defense or do all the little things that wins games, such has dive for loose balls, rebound, etc. And the reason he can’t get players to do these things is because of his main weakness, which is his inability to communicate and motivate his players. He’s too laid back to energize his players.

From his post game interviews, I don’t get any confidence that he knows the game on a deep level. He doesn’t understand the psychology of the game and can’t make adjustments. How can he make adjustments when his only tool is to spread the floor and have the point guard do all the work? This is why the Knicks had such terrible 3rd quarters under D’Antoni. Opposing coaches would make adjustments at halftime, whereas D’Antoni has nothing to adjust, because he only has one tool. And while his offense gives the point guard a lot of freedom to maneuver, it leaves the point guard extremely vulnerable, because the defense knows that all you have to do is take out the point guard. In that sense, D’Antoni’s offense is very predictable, so a talented defensive team like Miami can exploit it.

Aside from this, the biggest reason why I don’t want Lin to go with D’Antoni is because if he does well, everyone will keep saying that Lin is a product of D’Antoni’s system. So, again, his accomplishments will be discounted. I don’t buy that Lin is a product of D’Antoni’s system. Even Nash, who was coached by D’Antoni, went out of his way during Linsanity to disagree with most analysts, saying that Lin isn’t a product of D’Antoni’s system. Lin is a hyper-aggressive point guard who is talented and comfortable scoring the ball from anywhere on the court and has the ability to explode to the lane to create for himself or his teammates depending on what the defense gives him. So, yeah, Lin benefits from a spread offense. So if that’s what people mean, then they need to say that. But I think whenever they say Lin is a product of D’Antoni’s system, it sounds as if they’re discounting Lin’s talents. That Lin is a one-dimensional guard that can only play under D’Antoni. And there’s nothing further from the truth. But if Lin sticks with D’Antoni, this myth will follow him through his young career. In other words, you don’t hear anyone saying Nash is a product of D’Antoni’s system, do you?

Related Post: https://jeremylintelligence.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/more-evidence-that-woodson-is-a-good-coach/

How the Bi-Polar Knicks can Pull off the Impossible

The Knicks have had the most roller-coaster season of high highs and low lows. This makes them probably one of the most interesting teams to follow in the NBA this season. So if this Bi-Polar nature of the Knicks continues into the playoffs, then can we expect the Knicks to pull off the impossible and win four straight against the Heat?

The Knicks ended the season on a high note. It seemed like everything was finally coming together. The chemistry was high, Melo finally got his offensive rhythm back in a big way and Stat was back. But once the playoffs started, the wheels fell off in a big way. Chandler came down with a bad case of the flu out of nowhere, Shump tore his ACL out of nowhere and Stat had a freak accident after expressing his frustration after losing Game 2. It doesn’t get any lower than this. So does this mean that it’s time for things to turn around in a big way for the Knicks? It seems as if the stage could be set for that. And if any team could pull off the impossible and win the series after being down 0-3 it would be this Bi-Polar Knicks team.

Here’s how I think the impossible can happen. I’m not saying this is likely, but I’m not ruling it out either. You can call it wishful thinking if you like. But judging from the Bi-Polar nature of the Knicks this season it wouldn’t surprise me. I mean it wouldn’t be crazy for the Knicks to win Game 4. Their backs are against the wall and maybe the Heat may get a little complacent. Also, sweeping a team in the playoffs isn’t an easy task. So I think the Knicks can pull off a win in Game 4 just to save face. So lets say they win Game 4. In Game 5, Lin returns, along with Stat. When this happens, the Heat will be facing a drastically different Knicks team. The only concern I have is that Lin will probably be rusty coming back after being away for so long. But if he shakes off his rust, he is the key missing component. With Lin on the floor, Melo and Stat can co-exist. That’s the key thing that some people miss when they point to stats that show Melo and Stat can’t co-exist. The only stat that I think matters is the 6-1 record the Knicks had when Woodson took over with Stat and Lin on the court. The Knicks weren’t just winning games, they were blowing teams out.

The main reason why the Knicks have been losing during this series (aside from just simply being out-manned due to so many of our key guys being out or not 100%,) is that our offense has been extremely stagnant. With Lin on the floor, we’ll have better ball movement and guys will also be more motivated to move without the ball. Both of these things have been completely absent during this series so far and we looked especially bad offensively in Game 3. So if Lin brings back some movement in our offense, as well as new energy, then the Heat are facing a completely different team. It’ll be our big four (Melo, Chandler, Stat, Lin) against their big three and our deep bench (minus Shump) versus their less impressive bench. This is why I think this Bi-Polar Knicks team is the perfect team to do the impossible and come back from 0-3 down, because we’re two different teams. The team that went down 0-3 won’t be the team the Heat face in Game 5 and on (if we win game 4 and Stat and Lin come back to play in game 5). I’m not saying it’s likely or even probable. But I’m just saying that the proper ingredients are there for the impossible to happen. And the impossible is the identity of Jeremy Lin, so I wouldn’t rule it out.

So lets just take it a game at a time. Focus on winning game 4 then we could be facing a completely new series game 5 and on.