With or Without Carmelo, No Linsanity

The Carmelo Anthony trade from Denver set Jeremy Lin up for what has been one of the most astounding six game winning streaks in NBA history. While I’m not trying to make the case that all miracles come through Tebow, it did begin at the center of the miracle universe, Denver, Colorado.

When the New York Knick trade went through with Denver, the Nuggets received Raymond Felton and Danilo Gallinari, along with Timofey Mosgov and Wilson Chandler. At the time Felton was the speed point guard for the Knicks and played right into D’ Antoni’s fast paced system. He passed the ball around and averaged 17 points and nine assists in 38 minutes a game. Gallinari was averaging 15 points in 35 minutes in a system that was fast paced and committed to defense.

When Carmelo came, the Knicks had to change the entire game plan. In his career, Anthony’s offenses have held the ball longer than any other team in the league. It makes sense because Melo is a natural scorer who thrives on big plays on the offensive end rather than defense on the other end of the court. This forced the Knicks to make a change.

They did so by bringing in Tyson Chandler and Baron Davis, along with other slow tempo guys. Amare Stoudemire’s talent was buried in the new system. The injuries to key guys, including Davis, forced the Knicks to make a decision. The decision turned out to be Jeremy Lin, who had been cut by two teams in less than a month.

The rest of the story is becoming legend. A frustrated Knick’s coach, Mike D’Antoni, put Lin into the game in a fourth quarter days before the Harvard guard was expected to be cut. In the new offense, Lin was allowed to take shots with the absence of Amare and Melo. He was so successful that he was allowed to run the clock down last night in Toronto and pull a “Carmelo Anthony shot” for the win and it worked.

Now, maybe by some chance Lin would have found his way on a Knicks team that featured an up tempo offense of Stoudemire, Gallinari and Felton. Perhaps Chandler would not be stuck in China. However, why would D’Antoni play a guy who did not thrive in practice, when the team was already up-tempo?

The Melo trade and the injury have allowed Lin to play and become the superstar that New York always wanted. For the moment, it turned out they could settle for someone else, not Wade, Lebron, Amare, Melo , CP3 or Darren Williams. For the moment, they just needed someone to believe in.

However, Lin is no Chauncey Billups. He is not an NBA Finals MVP who can control the egos of superstars and that’s the tragic thing about this situation. Ultimately, Lin time will come to an end when he misses a game winning shot and the ball is not in Melo’s hands. Lin’s time will last only as long as Melo is out of the line up and the Knicks are winning. He has a “Remember the Titan’s” curse on his game; one loss and he’s out. This is Melo’s team. He just put Lin there.

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