Remember when I told you about the other shoe dropping in New York, and stifling the 23 year-old international sensation, Jeremy Lin? Well, the resignation of Mike D’Antoni might be that shoe as Lin could lose his starting spot in the Knicks rotation. I could see the writing on the wall during the 6-game losing streak, and now the puns are coming out in force as the Knicks transition to a Mike Woodson, isolation offense centered on Anthony and Stoudemire.
According to Frank Isola in the New York Daily News, Baron Davis is considered ”better suited to run [interim coach, Mike] Woodson’s offense,” and he could “replace Lin within two weeks.” The Knicks offense under Woodson will focus on getting Carmelo and Amar’e touches and steer away from D’Antoni’s controlled chaos with the point running the show and spreading the ball around with quick passes to catch the defense off-guard. You know, the offense fans love and Lin thrived in before ‘Melo and Amar’e returned and tangentially helped bring about D’Antoni’s departure.
Carmelo, always the savvy
marketer protector of his “brand,” doesn’t want to be labeled as the selfish superstar that drove D’Antoni away. Even as his co-star in the Knicks’ escalated expectations before this season, Amar’e Stoudemire, believes some players “didn’t buy into the system.” Anthony admitted as much, when he said he slowed the Knicks offense. Both players will see significantly more touches now that D’Anotni is gone, and they’re playing a more traditional, star-driven offense with tons of isolations, and possibly, no more LinSanity. As I mentioned, the Post and Daily News will now take the opportunity to flip the Lin headlines in the opposite direction, as we’re inundated with the traditional NBA offense centered around stars.
Mike Lupica wrote this past weekend, “It’s all Unravel-Lin,” in the Daily News. I’ve already mentioned Mitch Lawrence’s “The Results are Lin, and Jeremy’s Game is Flawed,” earlier this week.
Marc Berman wrote that “Jeremy Lin may be a global phenomenon, but he is no longer a Knicks phenomenon,” in the New York Post. The Post even had this little graphic on their Knicks page comparing LinSanity to a short-lived musical on Broadway that’s run it’s course.
The show is probably over, but Jeremy isn’t the type of guy to throw his hands up in disgust, or simply play D’Antoni’s system anyway. He says “he’ll be fine with the Knicks’ change.” The isolation-heavy Woodson offense, that ‘Melo and Amar’e are learning (which is hysterical because it’s what Melo has played his whole life, and Stoudemire played in Phoenix when D’Antoni left), might work with Mike Bibby in Atlanta or Baron Davis in New York, but not with the kinetic whirlwind that is Jeremy Lin; he’s more comfortable with the ball in his hands driving the lane and creating opportunities.
While it’s true Lin has struggled recently, especially during their losing streak, he’s still their best point guard, no matter what I’ve written about Baron Davis. I don’t want Baron to take over the starting spot, but with D’Antoni gone, I don’t see Lin continuing in the starting role. Instead, he’ll inherit the JJ Barea mantle as an offensive bright spot for New York’s second team. That’s not so bad for the guy who was a Taiwanese 12th man on the Knicks just a couple months ago, but it’s a long ways from the crest of LinSanity.
Dolan can suckle himself on the appearances of LaLa and ‘Melo at his laughable rock shows; Amar’e will spend more time with Anna Wintour and Knick fans should prepare themselves for less Lin on the court and more ‘Melo 18-footers. Whether that translates into wins, we’ll see, but I doubt they’ll be rattling off victories like they were with the crappier competition before the all-star break. Buckle-up for an 8 seed, or no playoffs at all, at which point Knick GM Glen Grunwald might have to go fishing in Montana, or convince JVG it’s time to come back.