NEW YORK — Jeremy Lin was barely hanging on to an NBA job when he stepped on the floor at Madison Square Garden last February.
He returns today having proven he’s a legitimate starter and sometimes star, capable of energizing a franchise and a fan base, a player who saved his team’s season and was rewarded with a lucrative contract.
Linsanity was short but spectacular, and even the New York Knicks’ locker room is filled with Lin admirers.
Yet on the court, his old team hasn’t missed him at all.
“What he did was amazing. I mean, I was watching every game. He was hitting game-winners, he was doing all that. He was amazing,” point guard Raymond Felton said. “But it’s time to move on. We’re 18-5, whatever the record is, we’re 10-0 at home, so no need to talk about that no more.”
Lin makes his lone New York appearance with the Houston Rockets, who threw big dollars at Lin in July and were maybe just as surprised as so many others when the Knicks let them have him. They could have kept Lin simply by matching the Rockets’ offer, which was widely considered to be a foregone conclusion, and the big-market Knicks certainly could have afforded him.
Instead, they traded for Felton, and signed Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni, and nobody can argue now. The Knicks are the best in the league in taking care of the ball — a Lin weakness even during his highest point — and they have the best record in the Eastern Conference with Felton and Kidd starting together in a two point guard backcourt.
“I’m not taking anything away from what we had last year, those guys gave us all they had, but to win at a big level in this league you’ve got to have good point guard play. I think Jason Kidd and Raymond and Pablo have filled that void that we were somewhat missing last year,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.