Yes, I know, I know. I said I’d post more and then I disappeared for a month and a half. Sorry about that. January was astoundingly busy and this blog came below family, my career, my house and my various civic responsibilities on the priority list, so unfortunately it lost out. Then February came and I just didnt feel like posting.
It’s not as if I hadn’t tried to post something. I started more than half a dozen posts only to be derailed by sleep, family or just life in general. So here’s a short one that hopefully wont get interrupted.
So despite being busy, I’ve been able to watch the majority of Raptor games (although not always getting my full attention), but my DVR is full of unwatched games with other teams. So tonight was my first chance to see Jeremy Lin in action. And it was a big disappointment. No, not because the Raptors lost, but because my stupid, f%#&ing DVR decided not to record the whole game. This wasn’t a matter of hitting the wrong button, either. This was my DVR acting completely screwy – the recording only showed on one of our DVRs despite that not apparently being possible. And the DVR is not full, either. In fact it says it’s only half full, so there should be plenty of room. Needless to say I’m calling Telus in the morning.
So anyway, I was really looking forward to watching this game and seeing how Lin did not only against the Raptors defense, but how he played with Amare Stoudamire, for the first time. See, in his first five games, he had no Carmelo Anthony or Amare Stoudemire, so didn’t have to defer to anyone. And since Mike D’Antoni’s system is rather PG friendly (remember how Raymond Felton looked like an All-Star while a Knick?), I was anxious to see how Lin would do against a pretty good defense (yes, I am saying the Raptor’s defense is pretty good, which is something I haven’t been able to say in a very long time) and when he’s playing with an All-Star.
Well, in what little I saw, Lin was okay (I missed his big fourth quarter), although his defense needs A LOT of work.
What happened in the rest of the second quarter and second half, I really have no idea. And I missed this…
Now, as I have not seen a full game from him, I can’t really say how good he really is or whether he’s the real deal or not. Maybe some of you (if there is anyone left after my sabbatical) can chime in. What I do know is that people were touting Brandon Jennings as the next Isiah Thomas after averaging 25 and 6 in his first 11 games in the NBA. Then teams started figuring him out and his weaknesses starting coming out (he can’t shoot to save his life- a career .385 shooter- and he’s a poor decision maker- he’s averaged 15 shots per game despite shooting .385).
What I like about Lin, though, is that he’s definitely a PG, despite his high scoring numbers. Unlike Brandon, who shoots way too much and forces too many of those shots, Lin gets his points naturally and makes good decisions. For that reason, I think he’s probably going to be a pretty good player. Thankfully, I have the Dallas-Knick game to watch this weekend on ABC. Hopefully my DVR will be fixed by then.
Now while I, unfortunately, have little to say about the actual game, I do have something to say about the fact that Lin was apparently almost a Raptor. It’s a great story and yet another reason for Raptor fans to feel sorry for themselves, but I’m not convinced the same thing would have happened with the Raptors as happened with the Knicks. Remember that Lin didn’t blow up until he was given the starting position. In fact, New York almost waived him until he had one of the highest scoring starts in NBA history, scoring more points in his first five games than Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and many, many others.
In Toronto, he would have been sitting behind Calderon, and with a very different offense, might not have had the freedom to be able to perform like he has in New York. People constantly underestimating just how important circumstances are to a player’s career and performance. Lin was put in a perfect situation for him. He was given the starting position in a system that is EXTREMELY PG friendly (remember how Raymond Felton looked like an All-Star in New York?), and allowed to not only play through his mistakes, but didn’t have to defer to anyone (with Carmelo Anthony and Amare out).
Ever wonder why a player flourishes in one place then struggles in another? It’s because circumstances often dictate how well a player will do. There are obviously some players that will succeed no matter what their circumstances, but for most of the league, that’s simply not the case. Would Steve Nash have had a Hall of Fame career if he’d stayed in Dallas? Would Darko Milicic have become a better player if he had not had Larry Brown beating the confidence out of him?
I know it’s nice to think Lin almost brought Linsanity to Toronto, but there’s really no guarantee he would have performed any better than he did in Golden State.
Edit: Apparent ESPN’s J.A Adande had very similar thoughts…