The truth is Lin isn’t even Houston’s best point guard. That honor belongs to James Harden, who often is given the steering wheel late in games because he is a better shooter and finisher who makes good decisions.
And Lin may not even be Houston’s best guard who arrived from New York. In December, he has being outplayed by Toney Douglas, who was tossed into the Marcus Camby deal but has shown improvement from last season.
Improvement has been a hallmark of Morey’s acquisitions, who have dominated our weekly rankings. Harden has become a top-five scorer. Omer Asik has become a top-five rebounder. Chandler Parsons has become a consistent starter. Patrick Patterson has become a starter. Greg Smith has become a contributor. Marcus Morris has become a D-League graduate.
You know which member of the Rockets hasn’t improved? Lin.
You can argue that the sample size evaluating Lin’s play this season is too small. I would argue that the sample size that created Linsanity was about the same size.
In the offseason, I chided the Knicks for not retaining Lin and still feel the same way. Learning the nuances of the position under the tutelage of an aging master such as Jason Kidd or Steve Nash would have been ideal. Instead, he has been thrust into a role as a starter, for which he has shown he is not quite ready.
Despite Lin’s obvious shortcomings, he will receive a hero’s welcome tonight at the World’s Most Famous Arena, a result of the three-pronged phenomenon created last season by his surprising play, an impatient fan base and a fawning media.
Smarter basketball fans with attention spans longer than squirrels realize that Linsanity was just another mood ring or macarena. So if you’re at the Garden tonight, you should be able to easily pick out the people who somehow are still caught up in Linsanity.
They will be wearing his T-shirt.
TRIVIA: Dwight Howard leads all active players with 60 20-rebound games. Who is second? Answer below.
THE END OF CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT: Raptors big man Amir Johnson totally lost it after having his routine of grabbing the ball after a free throw disrupted by referee David Jones. Watch teammate DeMar DeRozan’s look of disbelief early in the video below.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: TNT analyst Charles Barkley, discovering one of the major differences between studio work and courstide announcing at the Lakers-Knicks game:
“How do you guys sit here and not eat? I’m starving.”
LINE OF THE WEEK: Nicolas Batum, Portland vs. New Orleans, Dec. 16: 42 minutes, 4-11 FGs, 3-9 3-pointers, 0-0 FTs, five rebounds, 10 assists, five steals, five blocks, two turnovers, 11 points in a 95-94 win. Although these numbers may not look extraordinary, Batum registered the first 5-by-5 game since Andrei Kirilenko nearly seven years ago. And only Batum, Julius Erving (1979) and Jamaal Tinsley (2001) have done it with 10 assists.