By Ludwig Daza
It’s been ages since the Knickerbockers were considered as perennial contenders in Eastern Conference Final, if not the NBA plum. Those were the days when the franchise player of the team was Patrick Ewing, surrounded by talented players like Allan Houston, Charles Oakley, Chris Childs. Before these, the era of Ewing, Greg Anthony and John Starks energized the New York crowd.
Then the Bulls and Jordan era ensued, relegating the Knicks down the Eastern Conference ranking as the basketball fans were regaled by the Indiana Pacers and Reggie Miller.
The last time Knicks were a hot commodity, if my memory serves me right, was when they battled Michael Jordan and the Bulls in a losing effort in the NBA Finals after edging the Miami Heat, composed of Alonzo Mourning, Jamal Mashburn, and Tim Hardaway, in a hotly contested Eastern Conference final that saw their coach sprawled on the floor clinging to a players’ leg during a melee. The Knicks’ mercurial coach in the person of Jeff Van Gundy, who was then considered as a player’s coach, added luster to the reputation of Knicks as a defensive team anchored on Oakley’s steady defensive presence.
After that era, they were perennial cellar dweller, even with the talented Stephon Marbury on the team.
Now here comes the Lin-era. I would’nt be surprised if the Knicks club offers at least a five-year contract to Jeremy Lin. This kid has that Nash-ful of talent. It took some time for Steve Nash’ game to mature, but Lin’s game now in just seven starts is insanely mature that he was given a slot as part of the Sophomore team in this coming All-Star game.
Proof of that maturity is his statement that his field-goal is a bit high, which is not necessarily good for a point-guard, and which was probably the reason why he showcased his ball distribution talent, dishing out a career-high 13 assists against the Toronto Raptors to complement his 10-plus points. And all the while he’s been averaging 28-plus points in his 6 starts.
Now here comes Carmelo Anthony saying in an interview, when asked by Espn sporstswriter Stephen A. Smith as to who would take the last shot, that he want the last shot to be his, explaining that he’s been taking the same in his nine-year stint in the NBA.
Carmelo, already with nine-season experience in the NBA, has not mellowed a bit in always wanting to take the last shot. So I think Lin and Melo will mesh with each other as Lin stated that when Melo finally joins the starters his point-performance should drop, while his assist-rate should go up.
But I lament the fact that despite the talent-laden Knicks, Carmelo still wants to take the last shot. I think the last shot should always go to the open guy. That is the substance of a team. Whoever is open should take the shot. Carmelo and Stoudemire can create their own shots. And Lin has proven that he cannot only create shots for himself but also for his teammates. When you have three players on the floor who can create shots, anybody not named Carmelo will be open and should take the shot.
So this Linsanity augurs well for the Madison Garden that had been silenced for a long time. It’s time for the New York fans to be raucous again just like the old days when John Starks was wowing the crowd with his thunderous slams and long range bombs.
This is surely the season that Spike Lee had long been waiting for. And for him to tweet Floyd Mayweather, Jr., regarding the latter’s unsavory comment that betray his bias against Asians, Spike Lee must be in high spirit nowadays.