Let me start off this blog by stating my everlasting affection and dedication to the Miami Heat. The Heat are the team I grew up watching as a South Florida resident and I have been a die hard fan for not one, two, three…but 20 plus years. Long before LeBron took his talents to the city of my birth, I was rooting for the likes of Rony Seikaly, Bimbo Coles, Glen Rice and Harold “Baby Jordan” Minor. For all you haters out there, the real Heat fans endured MANY thin years and now we get to enjoy our embarrassment of riches that is the Heatles (some prefer the “Big Three” but not me). Now, the Heat are not what this blog is about. While they just happen to be the best team in the NBA at the moment, they are not the biggest show or story in the NBA this season (a fact that would have been incomprehensible at the beginning of the year). Unless you have been in a coma, you have undoubtedly heard of Jeremy Lin at this point (if you are not in a coma and still do not know who Jeremy Lin is please stop reading and go back to making letter bombs). “Linsanity” has caught the basketball loving nation and the city that never sleeps by storm, and is the epitome of a great sports story.
A month ago, Jeremy Lin was a journeyman roster filler that was about to be released from his third (and probably last) NBA team. Even the most ardent basketball fans would be hard pressed to know who this guy was, and many Knicks fans did not even realize he was on their team. Why would you realize it? He was an undrafted Harvard graduate who did not receive a single scholarship offer to play coming out of high school. He had to earn his way onto to Harvard’s basketball team as a walk-on. He had a stellar four year career playing in the Ivy League, but professional sports is perhaps the only profession where having graduated from Harvard is detrimental to one’s chances of earning a living. Yet, here we are. A month later. Watching in utter amazement at what this Ivy Leaguer is doing to some of the best athletes in the world on a nightly basis.
While the personal story about Jeremy Lin’s journey to basketball star is nothing short of incredible, his performance on the court is even more impressive. Since he became the Knicks’ starting point guard, he has scored more points than ANY other player in the NBA. More points than Kobe, Durant, LeBron, Dirk and ALL OTHER PLAYERS. He tied a New York Knicks record by scoring more than 20 points and dishing out at least 7 assists in 6 straight games. The Knicks were an original member of the NBA and Jeremy Lin tied a franchise record in the first 6 games he played meaningful minutes! Some of his critics have stated that his great stats are coming against some of the poorer competition in the league. That could not be any further from the truth. He had his two best games against the Lakers (38 points and 7 assists) and the defending World Champion Mavericks (28 points, 14 assists and 5 steals). Throw in a game winning shot at the buzzer against the Raptors in Toronto, and the majority of his points coming in the 4th quarter of games, and you have what Dickie Vitale calls a “P.T.P’er” (Prime Time Player).
If you play in a semi-competitive fantasy basketball league, Jeremy Lin is long gone from the waiver wire. But his performance this season has more to do with next year’s fantasy draft. Let’s assume for argument’s sake that Lin continues his current level of performance over the remainder of the season (there is nothing to suggest at this point he won’t, in fact he may only get better with experience). We would be talking about a player who averaged 24.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 9.2 assists per game. Those stats would make him the most productive fantasy player in the NBA besides LeBron James! He would be a legitimate option as the number one pick in next season’s draft.
Stories like this just don’t happen. Harvard graduates do not just take over the NBA after spending two seasons at the end of the bench. The U.S. Hockey team doesn’t beat the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympic Games. Joe Namath and the Jets don’t beat Johnny Unitas and the Colts in the first Super Bowl. And die hard Miami Heat fans don’t find themselves rooting for their hated rival New York Knicks…
…perhaps Lin this world these things can happen…
Check out this great article by Brett David Roberts, of yahoosports.com, on gauging Jeremy Lin’s trade value (click here).
Also, follow my useless ramblings on twitter @joshuabrier and on my blog @ ramblingfantasynut.blogspot.com.