Toward the end of the film “Se7en,” two detectives are driving a serial killer to a supposed location of one of the killer’s victims. The serial killer, played by Kevin Spacey, tries to convince the detectives of the lasting importance of his acts.
One of the detectives, played by Brad Pitt, dismisses the serial killer’s claims by saying, “You’re a T-shirt. You’re a Movie of the Week.”
That pretty much sums up Jeremy Lin.
Linsanity returns to Madison Square Garden tonight, where it all began less than a year ago. It was a perfect storm of a player’s skill set with a coach’s system producing surprising success for a starving, cynical fan base. There was a strong underdog element with the added bonuses of unlikely ethnicity and God-fearing humility. And it all played out in the attention capital of the world.
And I didn’t really buy it, because Linsanity never displayed any staying power. A knee injury ended the hoopla less than two months after it began. That was long enough for Lin to show he was a T-shirt – licensed by the NBA, of course – but not long enough to show he was a legitimate starting point guard.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey thought Lin was a legitimate starting point guard, investing $25 million of owner Leslie Alexander’s money over the next three years in that belief. Through roughly one-quarter of the season, here’s his return thus far:
- Three 10-assist games, or 15 less than Rajon Rondo.
- Two 20-point games, or nine less than Russell Westbrook.
- One double-double, or nine less than Chris Paul.
If you think it is unfair to compare Lin with All-Star point guards, then here is perhaps a better comparison. The table below lists the basic stats for point guards who began the season with new teams.
|Darren Collison, Dallas||12.2||5.4||2.6||.452||.257|
|Goran Dragic, Phoenix||15.0||6.4||3.1||.462||.354|
|Raymond Felton, New York||16.3||6.8||2.8||.403||.406|
|Kirk Hinrich, Chicago||6.7||5.5||2.4||.361||.381|
|Damian Lillard, Portland||18.9||6.4||3.4||.426||.366|
|Jeremy Lin, Houston||11.0||6.1||4.1||.397||.310|
|Kyle Lowry, Toronto||15.8||5.8||5.6||.406||.402|
|Mo Williams, Utah||13.0||7.1||2.1||.444||.365|
Among this less-than-elite eight, Lin is seventh in points, fifth in assists, second in rebounds, seventh in shooting and seventh in 3-point shooting. Even compared to ordinary point guards facing similar circumstances, Lin doesn’t stack up very well, either.