Saturday, March 24, 2012

Revisiting MY Death of Linsanity Prediction

By Nate Noy

A little more than a month ago while what seemed like the entire world was caught up in the Linsanity craze I went on record with a number of predictions regarding how wrong I believed the so called “experts” were about Jeremy Lin and the Knicks odds of success for the rest of this season, going as far as predicting that “And in the end, Mike D’Antoni will pay the price for expectations that are simply unattainable for someone of Lin’s talent level.”

In fact FDH’s Jason Jones and I had a special debate that can be found here. Followed by my post containing my calls for a return to reality and Jason’s now ill-advised rebuttal.

A few things happened yesterday that prompted me to take a look back at what has happened since my last post on the subject.

First and foremost I want to immediately go on record with an official apology to JJ Barea. When Jeremy Lin first broke out I was quick to put his abilities in what I thought was a proper context by saying he was at best a “poor man’s JJ Barea.” Well, let’s look at the stat lines yesterday for Mr. Barea and Mr. Lin:
Barea: 10-22 FG; 2-5 3pt; 25 pts; 10 reb; 14 ast; and 3 steals. (Yea, that’s a triple double).
Lin: 3-9 FG; 0-3 3pt; 6 pts; 1 reb; 4 ast; and 0 steals.

Sorry JJ, I officially retract my previous comparisons, and I sincerely apologize for EVER having compared you to such an NBA stiff as Jeremy Lin.

The other thing that prompted this post was FDH’s Rick Morris sending me a series of texts asking why I had gone silent with my criticism of the Knicks during what WAS a 5-game winning streak before they ran into the mighty Raptors last night. I pointed out to Rick the following: Woodson = reduced role for Lin = 5 game win streak.

In reality I quit hazing Rick about the Knicks because the Knicks simply aren’t worth the time to worry about at this point in the NBA season. While Jason Jones would have had you believe a month ago that the Knicks would “compete for the #4 seed” it’s hard to consider a team “competing” for ANYTHING outside of the final playoff spot when that team is .5 games up on the lottery and is two games under .500. Talk to me if the Knicks are EVER closer to the #4 seed than they are to the lottery at any future point this season, needless to say I don’t anticipate having to endure that conversation.

As I said at the time Jeremy Lin was a nice story and he had a good run for a few weeks, but NOTHING he did was that much better than what other role-players / NBA stiffs had managed to do over a short time period previously in the NBA.

In fact right after the Heat game in late February I pulled the stats of two other players that put up nice runs similar to Lin’s in recent NBA history, however since those two players played for the Nuggets and Raptors instead of the Knicks their accomplishments went largely unnoticed by anyone that does not follow the NBA closely.

Earl Boykins had a very similar 11-game run from 12/18/2006 to 1/10/2007, before he was traded from the Nuggets to the Bucks. Jerryd Bayless also had a similar stat line for the final 8-games last season from 4/3/2011 to 4/13/2011.

Here are the PPG numbers for Lin’s 12 meaningful games, Boykins before he was traded, and Bayless at the end of last season: Lin 22.6; Boykins 23.2; Bayless 22.5. The remaining statistics are very similar as well from minutes per game, to shooting percentages. Lin’s assists were slightly higher than Boykins or Bayless, but Lin’s turnovers were off the chart, giving Lin a much lower assist to turnover ratio over the time period.

Now let’s look back at what Jason and I had to say in mid-February, starting with a few of my observations and predictions:

That loud crashing sound you are about to hear coming out of New York City is not Wall Street’s reaction to the latest Obama economic policy; rather, it is what is about to happen to the New York Knicks and Jeremy Lin the rest of this season.
What comes next is this: the Knicks will finish +/- 4 games over or under .500 this year and lose in the first round of the NBA playoffs in no more than 5 games to the Heat or Bulls. By the end of next season Mike D’Antoni will be fired, the Knicks will at best be a 7 or 8 seed (they may even miss the playoffs) and they will be long gone within 5 games of the first round of the playoffs.

In my mind, in terms of talent, he is a poor man’s JJ Barea at best.

First, how impressive is the Knicks' 7-0 run with Lin getting significant minutes? The story no one else is currently telling you is that this run is not all that impressive. During this streak, the Knicks are 6-0 against teams that currently do not have a winning record.

As the schedule evens out the Knicks WILL lose, I project a minimum of 16 more losses this season.

I really do wish Jeremy Lin the best, but the reality is that he is a lot closer to a JJ Barea than a Chris Paul or Derrick Rose. He can contribute, but NOT even close to the level that the media has hyped him to. And in the end, Mike D’Antoni will pay the price for expectations that are simply unattainable for someone of Lin’s talent level.

Here are some of what now are the more laughable parts of Jason’s rebuttal:

Prior to Sunday, the doubters would tell you that Jeremy Lin doesn’t have a 28pts, 14ast, 5stl, 4reb, 3 3PM and 60% from the field line in his career… Are we just supposed to ignore the fact that the Mavs game resulted in Jeremy Lin putting up arguably the best single-game performance by anyone regardless of position for this entire season?

I let that one pass in February, I could have cited 10-15 individual games that were better than Lin’s at the time, but fast forward to last night and you see a comparable if not BETTER stat line from the one-and-only real-life JJ Barea.

There is a reason that Nathan Noy is literally the only person on the planet that thinks this run Jeremy Lin and the Knicks are on is completely a fluke.

First, there were a few others that didn’t follow the media hype like lemmings, but yea most people were too lazy or blinded by the Linsanity fad to dig into the numbers or realize that many an NBA stiff has put together a brief run in the past. Few before were sustainable, and neither was this one.

What I want to know is, what happens when this Knicks team performs respectably against the elite teams? Consider, 2-23 @MIA, 3-4 @BOS, 3-6 @DAL, 3-7 @SA, 3-12 @CHI, 4-8 vs CHI, 4-10 @CHI, 4-15 vs MIA, 4-17 vs BOS.

Currently the Knicks are 0-4 in the games Jason noted. The Knicks would have to actually “perform respectably” for Jason’s question to warrant a response. Likely 0-4 in the remaining four games he noted as well, but I’ll be sure to respond if the Knicks have at least one “respectable” one in there.

The talk of turnovers, defensive liability, etc. I really put zero faith or regard in against teams like New Jersey, Milwaukee, Detroit, Atlanta, Washington and Charlotte. 70% of the remaining games are against teams that are very seriously beatable.

Believe me when I say Jason DOES NOT want me to list the losses the Knicks already have since he wrote the above regarding “against the seriously beatable” teams. BTW one of the teams on Jason’s list is the Bucks, who as of today are a cool .5 games back of the Knicks for the #8 seed and very well may send the Knicks to the lottery before the season is over.

Anyone who looks at that scenario and says this team or Jeremy Lin is going to fall flat on their respective faces is simply barking up the wrong tree.

I have only one more thing to add: in dog speak woof, woof, woof; OR scoreboard, scoreboard, scoreboard!

Yea I may be a hater, but when you are right, you are right, and there is no shame in returning some “love” to those that doubted you. I won’t hold my proverbial breath waiting on a retraction of his previous post and an apology from Jason, I’ll just let the remainder of Jeremy Lin’s and the Knicks’ season speak for both Jason and Mike D’Antoni.

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