Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jeremy Lin

Basketball is an arena where big talents tend to be identified early - sometimes before junior high school. Jeremy Lin was not exactly invisible in high school - he was High School Player of the year in California - but he was lightly recruited out of high school and was a star a Harvard, which, unfortunately, is a bit like being the best actor in Abilene.

The NBA usually drafts enough college players to fill three leagues each year, but Lin wasn't one of them. He did manage to get on an NBA team, where he saw little action in his first season. After being waived a couple of times, he got on with the New York Knicks, where he once again occupied the far end of the bench. Until nine games ago, when he got his very first NBA start.

Since that time, he and the previously hapless Knicks have exploded, winning eight of nine, and Lin has been putting up superstar numbers. I saw him play for the first time today (on television) and he once again played like a champ, scoring 28 points and dishing out 14 assists, beating the defending champion Dallas Mavericks while leading two huge comebacks. Magic Johnson, probably the best point guard of all time, and not necessarily one to lavishly praise, was pretty fulsome at halftime.

He also played about 44 minutes, a particularly grueling task for a guy whose previous NBA minutes have not added up to what he has played in the last nine games. Those minutes were more or less necessitated by the fact that the Knicks went dish-rag limp whenever he sat down.