YES -- AS LONG AS YOU DON'T GET CARRIED AWAYBy Ian Begley
Yes, I think Jeremy Lin is the "real deal."
And you should, too, as long as your expectations for Lin are based in reality.
But if Lin can continue to run the New York Knicks' offense with the efficiency he's shown over the past three games, he's the real deal.
Because, really, that's all the Knicks are looking for out of Lin.
They want him to run the pick-and-roll, create adequate spacing, penetrate and finish at the rim.
The dunk, the shooting, the 25-point games -- that's all icing on the cake. If Lin continues to score at that clip, great. But if his scoring dips (as it's likely to when Anthony and Stoudemire return), I think he still remains extremely valuable.
Even without the scoring, Lin gives the Knicks something they were sorely lacking in the first six weeks of the season: a competent playmaker.
Before Lin's breakout performance against New Jersey, the Knicks were 24th in offensive efficiency and 25th in assist percentage. Over the past three games, Lin has made those numbers irrelevant.
Granted, it will be interesting to see how Anthony and Lin play together. Much of Lin's success is a result of having the ball in his hands. Same goes for Anthony. So there may be a bit of an adjustment there.
But there's no need to adjust your outlook on Lin. He's the real deal.
As long as your expectations are realistic.
HE STILL HAS MORE TO PROVEBy Jared Zwerling
Everything is a bit Lin-sane right now. The Knicks needed point-guard play in the worst way possible, and they've been getting it in the best way possible from an undrafted player.
Eventually, everything will become more sane. It's obvious that Lin deserves a permanent roster spot -- you don't just average 25.3 points and 8.3 assists in three straight games and call it a day -- but you can't coin him the "real deal" just yet. It's way too soon to put him in the realm of the other top point guards in the NBA.
Incredibly, Lin is the first player since LeBron James -- yes, LeBron James -- in 2003 to score at least 20 points and collect eight assists in his first two NBA starts. But Lin is not LeBron, and he's not Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Deron Williams or Russell Westbrook, either.
For starters, Lin hasn't been tested yet by a formidable defensive team. His last three opponents have been the 8-19 Nets (sixth-worst in points allowed), the 13-11 Jazz (eighth-worst) and the 5-21 Wizards (fourth-worst).
And, of course, you have to consider this: How will Lin look in April, when teams are playing at their best? Until Lin brings that extended consistency and helps send the Knicks to the playoffs (if it's not Baron Davis at the point), you can't call him the "real deal."
Also, Lin is still not a great shooter. He's made only one 3-pointer in his last 10 tries, and his accuracy from 3 to 23 feet away from the basket this season is below 30 percent. Most point guards just don't do that, especially the top ones.
Lin's pick-and-roll game has been impressive and the Knicks are on a three-game winning streak, but let's not get too carried away. Lin still has more to prove.