Unless you were living under a rock this past NBA season, you have seen the phenomenon known as “Linsanity,” a frenzy caused by the New York Knicks zero-to-hero PG Jeremy Lin. Lin was on the verge of being cut from his third NBA team, but on February 4th, he exploded for 25 points, seven assists, and five rebounds in a comeback victory over Deron Williams and the New Jersey Nets. In the coming weeks, Lin went on to light up John Wall and the Washington Wizards with 23 points and 10 assists, hit a game-winning three pointer against the Toronto Raptors, dropped 38 points on Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers, defeated the 2011 NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks 104-97 while having 28 points, and ultimately led the Knicks to a 16-10 record (including a seven-game winning streak during his first seven games as a starter).
But now Lin is gone. He is a Houston Rocket. The Knicks, who had a chance to match the potential $31-million offer, didn’t feel that he was worth the money for reasons beyond my imagination. But I have great news for fans of the Knickerbockers! Another craze is coming to New York to replace Linsanity. What is it called, you ask? “Feltonsanity.”
The Knicks traded for 28-year-old PG Raymond Felton of the Portland Trailblazers in the midst of the Lin signing drama, making it clear to the public (and to Lin, who gave the Knicks contract plans to the Rockets in order to acquire more money in the deal), that they were headed in another direction. Felton played for the Knicks in 2011, but was included in the deal for Carmelo Anthony. However, what many people are overlooking, Knicks fans and critics alike, is that Felton put up all-star numbers as a member of the Knicks. He averaged 17 (PPG) and 9 (APG) for NY in 2011, the same year that Rajon Rondo averaged 10-11, Deron Williams averaged 15-12, and John Wall averaged 16-8. Felton was right there statistically with several top-tier NBA point guards, and I anticipate him performing at the same high level this season.
In 2011, A’mare Stoudemire was an early MVP candidate (Before the Anthony deal), and was Felton’s only true offensive weapon. This year, the Knicks squad is loaded offensively. Carmelo Anthony is renowned as a top-5 scorer in the NBA; Steve Novak is the one of the best three-point shooters in the league; J.R. Smith can erupt at any time; Tyson Chandler showed that he can run the pick-and-roll with Lin; and Stoudemire is improving his post game this summer with one of the greatest post players of all time, Hakeem “The Dream” Olajawon. In other words, Felton has tons to work with.
2012 will always be known as the season of Jeremy Lin’s Linsanity, a folk hero who played out of this world but ultimately came back down to Earth. As a die-hard Knicks fan, I see 2013 being the season that Raymond Felton (as Walt Clyde Frazier, the Knicks announcer, loves to say) “dished and swished” the Knicks all the way to a championship.
Pretty insane, right?
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