Call it chance or opportunity, whatever you connect it with; the former Harvard Crimson point guard of the New York Knicks is making the most of it.
If you’re a basketball fan it’s a sure thing you know all about Lin’s last six games as a starter with the Knicks.
He’s tearing it up.
Most important, New York has a six game winning streak and they seem to have found the point guard they were missing. With all the excitement over Lin, the best thing about this whole situation is here’s a guy sharing the ball!
There’s so many great stories on the Harvard graduate this past week all around the Internet; they have cleared things up for most. Some blamed the Golden State Warriors for letting Lin go. Some blamed the Houston Rockets too. Many people mock the D-1 college assistant coaches for not recruiting him.
Regardless of what you think, it really doesn’t matter.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports has been following this story and his recent piece on Lin and the entire process hit the nail on the head.
The bottom line is you just never know with some guys. The Lin story reminds me of four former NBA players from the 1980′s and 1990′s with John Starks, Anthony Mason, Kurt Rambis and Marc Iavaroni.
You heard me, four solid players that were major contributors to very good teams. Four players that were also overlooked by other teams.
Mason was drafted out of Tennessee State in the third round by the Portland Trailblazers in 1988 before they cut him. He went overseas to work on his game and then played in the CBA and the USBL. The Nets (21 games) and Nuggets (3 games) gave him a chance but it didn’t work. The Knicks picked him up in 1991 where he became an impact player for a playoff team the next few years.
Starks attended four different schools, went undrafted, was cut by the Warriors (Mark Jackson said it wasn’t his fault) and played in the CBA and WBL. With Golden State in 1988-89 he played in 36 games. Starks tried out for the Knicks, but got hurt in pre-season. Under an NBA rule, New York couldn’t release him. Instead they kept him and Starks turned into the Knicks starting shooting guard for the next 8 years.
Rambis was drafted by the Knicks in the 3rd round of the 1980 draft. They used the 58th pick on the former Santa Clara star. New York let him go and it was off to Europe. The following season New York signed him to a 10 day contract in January but Rambis never left the bench.
Keep in mind Red Holzman had Larry Demic and Dewayne Scales at that position. The Lakers signed him the following year and he played power forward for the next seven years where he helped LA win four rings.
Iavaroni was drafted in 1978 by the Knicks in the 3rd round. But they cut him and after a trip overseas it was the Philadelphia 76ers that signed him in 1982 and Iavaroni did what Rambis did; played power forward and helped Philadelphia his first year win the NBA championship.
Lin isn’t the first NBA player to excel after being overlooked and he won’t be the last. Many are pointing to the fact that he’s in New York and his ethnicity. I beg to differ; this guy can play. Like many players, he just needed the right spot and a coach to believe in him.
Greg Doyel of CBS Sportsline had an interesting piece on what others were looking for and what they must have seen or didn’t see.
In Golden State Lin played behind Steph Curry and Monta Ellis. In Houston there was three point guards with guaranteed contracts ahead of him. I don’t think people look at the whole picture when it comes to these types of issues. We are always looking to play the blame game. Make excuses, blame it on someone else. It’s what many people love to do.
Starks, Mason, Rambis, Iavaroni and now Lin are all guys who were told no at first, but never gave up. They kept working hard and kept pursuing their dream. They found a discipline deep down that just would not let them stop pursuing a goal of making a team and playing well.
Lin will not be the last player cut by an NBA team or not drafted or even not recruited out of high school but were relentless in their pursuit of success. There will be more after him.
You keep working. You take more jump shots after practice. You lift more weights. You run more miles and then you have faith in yourself. You compete, you drive yourself, you don’t make excuses. You don’t play the blame game and you don’t feel sorry for yourself.
In a nutshell, never surrender no matter what the odds…
Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire want to win a championship, right? Well they better buy into Lin and become two guys that sacrifice for the better of the team.
After hearing a few words from Lin and Melo, there shouldn’t be a problem with these two on the floor. “Melo vouched for me in the first place,” said Lin in a recent interview.
Follow me on Twitter:@CoachFinamore