(Long Island, N.Y.) The lockout shortened 66-game NBA regular season has been one with many different chapters for the New York Knicks. Some have been positive, and many others didn’t have the same results. Such is the case when any head coaching change takes place during the campaign.
There was the team’s slow start and the questions if Carmelo Anthony can be the guy or not to lead this team. Once he was on the shelf with an injury, things improved and instead of a highly paid superstar being the catalyst, it was an undrafted free agent out of an Ivy League school becoming the Prince of the City.
Jeremy Lin took over as the starting point guard and was running former coach Mike D’Antoni’s pick-and-roll offense masterfully. The Knicks were winning again and doing so without Anthony. Now the headlines were asking if Lin would be as effective once Anthony was healthy.
The answer to that burning question was a sound ‘no,’ and the losses began mounting again. This was the period where D’Antoni realized that he would never get through to Anthony, who prefers an isolation-style with him holding the basketball. So D’Antoni sat down with James Dolan and was out the door, with assistant coach Mike Woodson taking over for the remainder of the season.
That chapter started off beautifully, with the team discovering that they can actually play defense and do so at a very competitive level. Lin was not the focus of the offense, but was a major portion of its scoring and setting up his teammates. Even Anthony played his butt off on both ends of the court, something not seen from the Syracuse product since he’s been in the blue and orange of the Knicks.
The team eclipsed the .500 mark and seemed to be settling in as the eighth and final seed out of the Eastern Conference. But then recently, Lin went down with what was being diagnosed as a sore left knee. He sat out a few games hoping the rest would clear up the pain and discomfort but then he underwent an MRI that revealed a tear in his meniscus. The Harvard graduate tried to practice through the pain, but would not have been as effective as he had been until the problem was rectified.
Lin underwent surgery on Monday and will be out for a minimum of six weeks. That means unless the Knicks are around for the second round of the playoffs, their new sensation is done for the year.
“Praise God for a successful surgery,” Lin wrote on his Facebook page. “Now on the road to recovery.”
With Lin out, the starting ‘one’ will be Baron Davis. The vet has enough experience on leading a team to the postseason and will not fold under any of that type of pressure, but he has lost more than a step and has not had a lot of success in the backup role once returning from his back injury at the start of the season.
He may be only 32 years of age, but Davis has a lot of mileage and has suffered enough nagging injuries that have become a hindrance. Woodson needs Davis to give him quality minutes and rookie Iman Shumpert and fellow veteran Mike Bibby will spell him at the point.
The schedule isn’t exactly an easy one, either, so Davis and the Knicks will have to earn a berth in the playoffs. That would be a nice way to continue the story.