Friday, February 10, 2012

Kobe Bryant Hasn't Heard of 'Linsanity"

By now Jeremy Lin has reached celebrity status, his name, face, and highlights all over the internet and all forms of social media. What the obsession is, I don't know. I love the kid; he's become one of my favorite players on the Knicks, and it's wonderful to see him shining and taking advantage of his opportunity. However, when you type "je" into Google, "Jeremy Lin" is the second suggestion to come up, which is pretty crazy.

A lot of people are making a big deal about the Knicks game vs. the Lakers tonight, as Kobe takes on "Linsanity". However, Kobe doesn't understand the big deal because he hasn't heard about Linsanity! As reported by Reid Cherner of USA Today, Kobe said:

"I know who he is, but I don't really know what's going on too much with them," he said. "I don't even know what he's done ... I'll take a look at (the tape) though."
Kobe could be bluffing, but I hope he isn't. With the attention Jeremy has received over the past week, he's been put on a such a high pedestal, that on a night where he under-performs (or more likely, returns back to Earth), the media will turn against him. I hope Kobe Bryant hasn't heard of him because I don't want to see this again just to make a statement. Frankly, I hope people forget about Lin so that the attention is taken off of him and he can focus on playing basketball, without the enormous expectations. He said himself that the media attention has been overwhelming.
Photo courtesy of Jonah Ballow
I think Jeremy Lin has the potential to be a part of the Knicks' championship building process. As Mike D'Antoni noted in a postgame interview recently, Lin's got court vision, he's got speed, and he's got smarts, and those things don't just disappear (though Toney Douglas may wish to argue with me about dissipating talents). Eventually, teams will focus on making Lin shoot the jumper, which isn't weak, but isn't strong. They'll put more pressure on his semi-weak ball-handling. They'll figure him out. But those are things that can be fixed and worked on.

In Lin's two games as a starter, he's averaged 25.5 ppg, 9 apg, and he's shot over 50%. The last player to put up over 20 points and 8 assists in their first two starts was Lebron James. Lin's in some high company there. It should be noted too, that statistically, what Lin has done the last three games is likely better than what a healthy Baron Davis will produce.

However, with the absence of Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, the attention and pressure will be on Lin to (once again) perform like a superstar. The Los Angeles Lakers are a significantly better team than the Nets, Jazz, or Wizards and you can bet that they aren't ready to let Linsanity dominate them and be the story around America.

So for Jeremy's sake, let's give him a break and ease up expectations. A win tonight would be a near miracle, in my opinion, and let's not put more pressure on Lin than need be. Please?

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