Lin's star fading as Knicks falter
Jeremy Lin talks with New York Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson during Wednesday night's game in New York.
March 16th, 2012
12:36 PM ET

Lin's star fading as Knicks falter

"Linsanity," the worldwide craze over the exploits of New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, has flamed out quicker than the lifespan of a firefly.

"R.I.P. Linsanity" read a headline emblazoned on a tombstone pictured on the back page of the New York Post on Friday. "Briefly beloved Broadway smash hit, February 4, 2012, to March 14, 2012," the remaining inscription said.

The sports cover of Friday's New York Post

Lin, a 23-year-old Harvard graduate, burst onto the basketball scene in early February when then-Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni called him off the bench as the Knicks struggled against the New Jersey Nets. Lin responded with 25 points, leading the Knicks to victory. A seven-game winning streak, including a victory over All-Star Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, followed, with Lin coming up with clutch plays to lead the way.

The winning streak lifted the Knicks from also-rans to playoff contenders. Lin jerseys sold out in sporting goods stores. Lin got a special invite to participate in an All-Star weekend game for the league's future stars. International attention spiked, and Lin had to ask that reporters in Taiwan leave his grandmother alone. Even President Obama took notice.

And everywhere were the puns using the Asian-American's last name: Linsational. Linspiration. Linderella. And, of course, Linsanity.

But like a Wall Street stock, it's performance over time that establishes equity, and that's where Lin's value has withered.

The Knicks have lost eight of their past 11 games, and Wednesday, D'Antoni resigned, replaced in the interim by NBA veteran coach Mike Woodson.

Woodson emphasizes defense and ball control on the court, the opposite of the fast-paced style that was favored by D'Antoni and suited to Lin's game, according to New York media reports.

"Lin said Woodson’s offense will be 'challenging' for him, saying D’Antoni’s system was 'perfect for me,' " Knicks writer Marc Berman said in the "tombstone" article in Friday's New York Post.

Lin scored only six points and had six turnovers in his first game under Woodson this week.

Additionally, Woodson likes the ball to be in the hands of veteran players, according the New York media, and the Knicks have two of the league's biggest veteran stars in Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.

"I want everyone to know that when it comes [crunch] time and I got to get a big shot, I’m going to Melo and Amar’e and guys who have done it," Woodson told the Post.

“His best players get the most shots,” a former associate of Woodson's told The New York Times. “Melo’s going to love it. Amar’e’s going to love it. And the other 12 guys are not going to like it so much.”

“He’s going to utilize his leading scorers, myself and Carmelo Anthony, make sure he takes advantage of every opportunity on the court,’’ the Post quoted Stoudemire as saying. “We’ve been profound scorers all our careers. He wants to make sure we take advantage of that.’’

It must be noted that Anthony was out with an injury when Lin led the Knicks on that February winning streak, and there were always questions about how Anthony, who takes more than 20 shots a game, would get along in an offense led by Lin.

During the peak of Linsanity, Newark Star-Ledger sports columnist Steve Politi wrote for CNN that Lin had fans thinking of the Knicks teams of the '70s, coached by Red Holzman.

"The championship Knicks of 1970 and 1973 had plenty of talent - there were a combined six Hall of Famers on their rosters ... but they put aside their egos for the betterment of the team," Politi wrote.

Woodson, too, harkened back to Holzman, whom Woodson also played for, when discussing the 2012 Knicks on Thursday.

"He taught me that rookies were to sit and listen and learn," Woodson is quoted as saying in the New York Daily News. "That taught me a valuable lesson, I think, way back when."

The papers reported that Lin, who is really a second-year player, remains a starter for now, but they also point out that if Woodson wants the younger Lin to sit, he has a veteran in former All-Star Baron Davis to whom he can turn. Or Mike Bibby, who played for Woodson when he coached the Atlanta Hawks.

Howard Beck, writing in the Times, points out that Woodson may not have time to figure out if Lin is a good fit for the new Knicks.

"With D’Antoni gone and Anthony back in the forefront, Lin may never get the same opportunities to shine," Beck writes. "The Knicks have no room for error, nor does Woodson, who is coaching for a contract and the permanent job."

The firefly, or lightning bug, has a lifespan of two months, according National Geographic. It seems highly questionable whether Jeremy Lin can shine that long.

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Filed under: Basketball • NBA • Sports
soundoff (182 Responses)
  1. Dee

    It's not that Linsanity's star has faded, it's that Carmelo is back and wants to be the man. So they'll go back to him scoring 40 points and the team losing. I prefer Miami anyway so WAY TO GO KNICKS!!!

    March 17, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. Cleve

    Proof is in the record, Melo is a virus that infects teams to be losers. He did it in Denver with his selfish play and now in New York. When Lin was playing and Melo was out they won, now that Melo is back they lose. Pretty cut and dry there. Of course Lin is the 2nd year player and will be the center of blame because they spent so much money on Melo and Knicks management doesn't want to come out and say they screwed up. Put Baron Davis in, he's washed up anyways and will help in finishing the Knicks failure season.

    March 17, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • AmericansCare?

      Good point. Well said

      March 18, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mikeerwin

    Not so fast...... Did you guys watch last nights game? Lin was ballin!!!

    March 17, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. LV

    When Lin was recruited off the bench the winning streak began.... when melo came back the losing streak began... doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the problem, but it will take a good coach to fix the problem. You cant blame the highest paid players, can you??? Bench melo and play lin (yeah ok)... that would work and it was proven to work, but then how do you explain the need for the million dollar pay checks. Will the Knicks ever get it together!

    March 17, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  5. Call it like it is

    Star? More like a sparkler.

    March 17, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  6. tcmlee

    Without Lin this NBA season would have been a dud. At least now we can look forward to constant drama unfolding the rest of the season.

    March 17, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jay Jo

    This is really a silly article. Lin is still a good guard that brings a lot of energy to the Knicks, youth, as well as a guard who's not afraid to take contact in the key. Also, he brings what the Knicks haven't had from the Asian community (NY has one of the largest in the country). Like all players who fly under the radar of the scout reports, teams will always adjust, its up to Lin to continue to recognize those adjustments...he's only played 20 games (give or take). Other than Baron Davis, there are no other guards on the Knicks that can bring the energy. Bibby has played sub par at best. Lin however does have the benefit of learning from veterans like Baron and Bibby and continuing to develop into a marque guard. Since, Woodson took the reigns as coach, all individual scoring has decreased, but the bench is contributing more. Even with isolation on Melo, the game has a smoother tempo. It the last 2 games, Knicks have outscored opponents by more than 50 points. Where are the Knicks faltering? Lin's still producing key tempo, as is Baron. Neither Baron or Bibby can play for 48 minutes...Douglass is not as talented as Lin at running the point. The key is for the point guard to get the ball into the hands of the 1st and 2nd option, so Woodson's comment on where he wants the ball is in context to key shots, but he also said everyone should score. Brad...Do you know basketball?

    March 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. me

    May devil dance on the reporter's tomb! ^^

    March 17, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    So they had a losing season going-injured player and Lin came in WIN,Win,Win, now the star player is back and they are going back to the losing streak This is Not rocket science-Even I can figure out what is happening and it was Not the old coach that was fired.

    March 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MH2

    Media everywhere put J Lin on a pedestal with no long-term body of work to evaluate. Not just unique here, hype, hype is what sells. All of the hype probably offended many veterans who have put up the same stats even during their rookie year. But we understand how J Lin was emerging as a rarety in many ways. NBA and Knicks I'm sured loved the hype as well (reaping $$$). However at the end of the day it's about wins and losses. Game against Miami brought him back to reality. Perception cannot be reality no matter how hard one might believe that. Shame on the media, NBA and Knicks for setting up Jeremy. Hope he's strong enough to not get discouraged–good player, better character.

    March 17, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. john hillman

    Carmelo put the ME back into team. They were losing when he went out and they are losing again since he got back. Any question where the problem may be?

    March 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John Schwendler

    Carmelo appears to be a team/locker room virus. His track record of getting along with everyone isn't exactly stellar. He shows up, and suddenly D'Antoni has "lost control of the locker room?" Really? He has a disturbing pattern of wreaking havoc, not being part of winning teams. Knicks lost a solid coach. Nothing wrong with Lin, either.

    March 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. me138

    Looks like the flavor of the month has spoiled.

    March 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ken

    I dont think its a matter if Lin's star fading. The media will critique his every move on the court now. If he makes turnovers(something every players does) it will be criticized. He is just settling in and his opponents are adjusting to his style as well.

    Carmelo coming back doesnt help either. Lin made the Knicks into a "team", with Carmelo, its back to being a "one on one" team again.

    Boring to watch if you ask me.

    March 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. guy

    Pro Basketball players are washed up over-paid clowns. What a waste of money for that so-called "sport". Those guys are a waste of people's time and energy. I refuse to pay any money to watch those POS cry about not getting enough money and all their bull. Who cares. This article made me laugh because they are all a joke to begin with.

    March 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Resist710

      I still can't believe Kwame Brown has made over 50 million in earnings just from his NBA salary.

      March 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • AmW

      Umm Im in pro basketball

      March 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
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