GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Though they come from different backgrounds -- one is a South African-born Canadian; the other is Taiwanese-American -- on the court they look a bit more similar, and it's not only because of their 6-3 height.
Last week, as Jeremy Lin led the Knicks to a 4-0 record, while averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 assists and 2.0 steals as a starter, he played at a pace and with a creativity that resembled Amare Stoudemire's former Suns point guard Steve Nash.
Lin showed he was patient, yet quickly sneaky in a second, maneuvering around pick-and-rolls and weaving through congested airspace 10 to 0 feet away from the basket fairly easily. And in the paint he wasn't afraid to take contact from a big man twice his size. In those situations, Lin would sometimes shoot an off-balance fallaway, just like Nash does. While Nash is a better shooter, especially from 3-point territory (44.8 percent to Lin's 16.7), in Knicks' wins over Los Angeles and Minnesota last week, Lin started to find his rhythm from midrange off screens and ball fakes.
Where Lin has an advantage is with his strength (Lin weighs 200, whereas Nash is 178), and you can tell when Lin drives to the basket. He has more range, power and athleticism with his first step to his following dribble moves, compared to a younger Nash. Of course, Lin has a ways to go to catch up to Nash, who's a two-time MVP and has led the Suns to three Western Conference calls. But Stoudemire, after Monday's practice, said Lin is on the right track.
"He does a little bit [remind me of Nash]," he said. "I played with Jeremy that one game right before I left -- that New Jersey game -- and when I was watching him in Florida, I see some similarities. He's definitely on his way. Steve's obviously one of the all-time greats. If Jeremy keeps improving, he can continue to find success, and he'll be right there with Nash."
Lin said if he ever got a chance to consult with Nash, he would definitely listen to him. "How can you not listen to Nash?" he said.
But Stoudemire said that Lin doesn't need to, because he's got Mike D'Antoni, whom STAT has referred to numerous times as an "offensive genius."
"You've got the master in Mike D'Antoni," he said, "so [Lin's] going to pick Mike's brain pretty much the whole rest of the year."
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