The excessive media-driven hype surrounding NY Knicks point guard sensation Jeremy Lin is over.
When Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson took over from the departing coach Mike D’Antoni, one of his first tasks was to return the team’s focus back to its “bread and butter” offense — Carmelo Anthony and center Amar’e Stoudemire. That meant taking the emphasis off of D’Antoni’s high speed, pick-and-roll offense, led by emerging star Lin.
The Knicks also have to decide whether to spend all or part of their $5 million mid-level exception to keep Lin on the roster next season. Lin’s $762,000 salary this season is considered low by NBA standards for a starting point guard.
During a press conference following team practice yesterday, Woodson indicated that he might bench Lin in favor of starting backup point guard Baron Davis or veteran point guard Mike Bibby, who has been riding the bench since the start of the “Linsanity” craze in February.
D’Antoni’s fast break offense depended heavily on Lin after the 26-year-old, un-drafted Harvard grad came off the end of the bench to spark a 7-game winning streak on Feb. 4. But those 7 wins came mostly against sub-500 teams.
D’Antoni’s offense hit a brick wall once the schedule got meaner against winning teams with stronger defenses.
D’Antoni’s blind faith in the turnover-prone Lin ended up costing him his job. He resigned on Wednesday, amid rumors that Anthony was threatening to leave.
When asked if this is now Melo’s team again, Woodson said, “It’s everybody’s ballclub. But I want everyone to know that when it comes [crunch] time and I got to get a big shot, I’m going to Melo and Amar’e and guys who have done it. A lot of these guys are young and still trying to figure it out. Those guys have been around the block a number of times and have done it. They’ll be go-to guys coming down the stretch.’’