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NBA – Lin-Sanity, All-Star Game Crimes

Lin-Sanity Alert
            Lots of buzz of course about the first Asian-American to make the show, but interestingly, he’s just the 2nd PG to create a stir in the Big Apple this year. They installed rookie SG Iman Shumpert at the point about 6 or 7 games into the year, and while he created a mini-buzz with his youth and athleticism, he turned out to be far more natural at SG. He remains an excellent 30 min/night guy off the bench and great defender, but they definitely upgraded hugely when they finally handed the reigns to Jeremy Lin, the former Warrior deep reserve, already waived twice this season. Lin’s numbers after 5 starts are remarkable (28.6, 4.2 rebs, 8.0 asst, 2 stl, 51.5% shooting), but likely to come down somewhat once Amare & Melo are back in the starting lineup…and the Law of Averages catches up with him. In his last game, the heavy minutes of the prior 4 games (39 min/gm) weighed on him as he hit only 8 of 24 shots, and comitted 6 T/O’s. But he seems legit – quick, sees the floor well, agressive, and good size (6’3″, 200), so it’ll be very interesting once they have all their pieces in place to see how things play out. The Knicks are currently 13-15, in 8th place in the East, after winning 5 in a row since installing Lin as a starter. Also interesting – what happens to Lin after this season? He’ll be an unrestriced F/A, and the Knicks can’t offer more than $5m/yr since they’re already over the cap. At this point, I’m guessing there will be multiple teams reday to offer him more than that. 
All Star Game Crimes
           The biggest crime is probably Luol Deng over Josh Smith…or over Greg Monroe. While neither Smith nor Monroe has missed a game this season, Deng has missed 7…and both victims also have far better numbers: Deng (15.6, 7.0 rebs, 2.7 asst, 1.2 stl, .7 blk, 43%)…vs Josh (15.6, 9.2 rebs, 3.4 asst, 1.4 stl, 2.1 blk, 46.3%) and vs Monroe (16.8, 9.9 rebs, 2.5 asst, 1.5 stl, .6 blk on 53% shooting). Smith is flat out a better player, and more crucial to his team than Deng, and has been robbed in the past as well (hasn’t made an All-Star game yet). Monroe has quietly become one of the better bigs in the East, albeit on a poor Pistons squad. I would take either Smith or Monroe over Hibbert, Iguodala, or Paul Pierce (now shooting 41.8%) as well. I’d also take Smith over his teammate Joe Johnson, who will be playing in his 6th All-Star game, despite averaging under 19 pts, shooting under 43%, pulling down less than 4 rebs, and dishing less than 4 dimes a game.
Over in the West, there’s been a lot of uproar over Monta Ellis (22.7, 6.1 asst, 2.7 stl, 44%) not making it, and as you know, I’m a huge fan…but it is TOUGH to make it as a guard in the West. The reserves include 3 PGs – Nash (14.6, league-leading 10.3 asst, and phenomenal 56.3% shooting)…Westy (6th in the league in scoring, career high 46.6 FG%, 4.9/5.7 rebs/asst), and Tony Parker (18.6/7.6 dimes) while keeping the Spurs winning (19-9) without Manu and with Duncan a shadow of his former self. Ellis is definitely more deserving than Dirk (just 18.6 pts, 6.2 rebs, 46.1%, missed 4 gms), but they gotta have some forwards on the team. But you could make an argument for Rudy Gay, David Lee, or Al Jefferson over Dirk – I’d rather see any of them in Dirk’s place. 

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