After much deliberation, the New York Knicks decided that point guard Jeremy Lin was not worth keeping. On Wednesday July 18, 2012, the Knicks declined to match his offer from the Houston Rockets. Despite Lin's astonishing performances and tremendous popularity, the Knicks did the right thing by letting him go. A closer look at the numbers and the high price tag show that Lin is simply overrated.
The Rise of Linsanity
Lin's breakout performance came on February 04, 2012 against the New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets. He willed the Knicks to victory with 25 points and seven assists. And this was only the beginning for Lin. His godlike performances over the next 10 games became known as Linsanity. Lin averaged 23.9 points and 9.2 assists during this stretch. He hit 50% of his shots. These were Steve Nash-like numbers. With Lin leading the way, the Knicks won seven straight games and nine out of eleven.
Regression Toward the Mean
On February 23, 2012, reality set in. In a game against the Miami Heat, Lin had has worst performance as a starter. He scored just eight points on 1 of 11 shooting. Lin had only three assists along with eight turnovers. For the next 14 games, Lin played good but not great. His 14.5 points and 6.5 assists per game didn't clear the top 10 among NBA point guards. And his 39.3% shooting and 3.9 turnovers per game put him among the league's worst. The Knicks won just seven out of Lin's last 15 games.
Shut Down for the Season
In late March 2012, Lin was shut down for the season because of a knee injury. He opted for surgery and hasn't played an NBA game since. However, that didn't stop the Rockets from giving him a big contract offer.
Along with luxury tax payments, Lin could have cost the Knicks $43 million over three years or $14.3 million per year. That's more than what Rajon Rondo, Tony Parker and Russell Westbrook make. And it's close to Derrick Rose's average annual salary of $15.5 million. That's a lot of money to pay for a player who may not be at that level.
I was a huge supporter of Lin last season. He was the best thing to happen to the Knicks in years. But the Knicks did the right thing by letting Lin walk. While Lin astounded the world with his amazing February run, he finished the season playing a little better than average. His late season performances failed to match his hype. Lin was no longer playing like an elite point guard, so I can't fault the Knicks for deciding not to pay him like one. At that price, the Knicks can do better.
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Edwin Torres was born in New York City. He has been a Knicks fan since the early 1980s. He has visited Madison Square Garden on many occasions to watch the Knicks and his favorite player, Patrick Ewing. For more articles, follow him on Twitter @FlipPoker.