A recent stat line came out that revealed why Jeremy Lin is a good thing for the New York Knicks. Now he can only sit back and hope that Carmelo Anthony lives up to his billings as the NBA playoffs loom.
Lin trails only Derrick Rose in top-selling NBA jerseys
No stat shows popularity in professional sports more that how many jerseys get sold. While Chicago Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose led a star-studded pack that included Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, it was the young point guard from New York who surprised everybody. Lin proved his effect on the basketball world when news hit that his #17 jersey snuck into second place behind Rose for most jerseys sold. If that doesn't show whether Linsanity is dead or not, nothing will. He deserves all the credit in the world for making basketball relevant again in America's greatest city and even more for doing it as the first Asian-American not named Yao Ming. Jeremy Lin isn't the best point guard in the NBA but he is the perfect example of what the New York Knicks have lacked since John Starks or Willis Reed. Great Knicks teams need a feel good story. Lin can only hope that story has a happy ending with the playoffs about to begin.
LeBron James and Miami Heat will go for the early knockout
If any team is in the Knicks heads, it's the Miami Heat. Team leader Carmelo Anthony has made it his mission to outplay Heat star LeBron James, but that might not work out so well. Like the Bulls and Rose learned last year, it takes a total team effort to beat the Heat and if New York tries to fight their way to a series win through one player, it won't work. For all his talent Anthony must channel his inner Lin for this series. His leadership and willingness to share the basketball will create wins far more than shooting it thirty times. Miami makes a living off overwhelming its opponents early and closing the series out in five games at the most. Like the Dallas Mavericks last year and their young point guard this year, the Knicks must survive the early blows and come out swinging at the next bell.
Jeremy Lin doesn't compare to Derrick Rose in talent. That doesn't mean he's a bad NBA player. For the New York Knicks he was the difference between playoffs and early offseason. Now he needs his team and Carmelo Anthony to come through for him this time. The fact that it's LeBron James and the Miami Heat would make the story that much more special.