Though the Knicks are off and running towards new winning ways at 18-5, the team will welcome an old familiar face back to the Big Apple on Monday night.
Jeremy Lin will return to Madison Square Garden (the same spot where Linsanity was born), as a member of the Houston Rockets.
With the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire saddled with respective injuries, and the Knicks looking down its bench for an eventual boost, the undrafted Lin got his shot last season.
Unleashing Linsanity, Lin helped swing the momentum back in his team’s favor as they looked towards the playoffs. Starting in a string of games for New York, Lin’s successful stint as resident floor general included double-doubles, game-winning shots, flashy passes, and exciting penetration to the basket.
The excitement surrounding Lin, coupled with his ability to find players in the right spots, helped also elevate the play of his teammates. Landry Fields got his groove back offensively, and Steve Novak emerged as a hero off the bench. Both players’ special efforts on the hardwood were largely in part due to Lin, and it’s safe to say the pair wasn’t alone in benefitting from Linsanity.
In addition to rising up a national phenomenon, Lin represented one of the more promising prospects to don a Knicks uniform in quite some time. His presence pointed in the direction of fun and exciting things ahead for the Knickerbockers.
But that wasn’t enough for New York to retain him for the future. The team let Lin sign with and return to the Rockets. After allowing him to flock back to Houston, the Knicks re-tooled at point guard with the likes of Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, and Pablo Prigioni.
The floor general trio has played a huge role in the team’s strongest start in years, clearly proving (surprisingly enough) that the Knicks could overcome the loss of Lin.
While New York chose to build its team around notable veterans, the Harvard graduate is amongst a promising youth movement in Houston. Currently sitting at 11-12, the Rockets have some nice depth, highlighted by Lin and one of the league’s strongest rising offensive stars, James Harden.
Lin’s popularity hasn’t faded all that much, though he’s no longer in the Big Apple spotlight. The guard is currently ranked third in All-Star voting among Western Conference backcourt stars.
After struggling a bit to start the season, Lin has begun to find his rhythm somewhat as the month progresses. In addition to owning averages of 11 points, 6.1 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game on the year, the young stud has also notably played better in the team’s last ten games. Lin is certainly back on his way up.
Finally coming into his own and playing within his means some more, Lin returns to the place where his successful outbreak all started. Will he receive an eruption of cheers or jeers when he hits that MSG hardwood?
The answer to that question will undoubtedly come later Monday evening. But with the bright lights no longer on Lin, he can simply adjust to being a key cog in his new team’s engine, while his old team continues to do everything it can to prove they’re much better off without him anyway.