Sunday may have changed his mind. That is when Jeremy Lin put up 28 points and 14 assists in leading the Knicks past the Mavericks. That included six points and six assists in the fourth quarter when the Knicks took over the game.
Going into that game, Jason Terry was not as impressed as the rest of us.
He saw the 45 in the seven games before that, the fact Lin turns the ball over on 21.6 percent of his possessions used and said his previous coaches wouldn’t have tolerated it. That he would have been benched. Here is what Terry told the Star-Telegram before the game Sunday.
“I’ve been a point guard in this league and (45 turnovers in seven games) would have gotten me on the bench real fast,” Terry said….
“He’s in (Knicks coach Mike) D’Antoni’s system, and any player that plays a guard position in D’Antoni’s system has opportunities to be able to put up good numbers, and I think that’s what he’s been able to do,” Terry said. “The ball’s in your hands a lot and you’re going to have turnovers….
“I think it’s a lot of hype right now,” Terry said. “Is he going to be a good player in the future? If he continues to work, he will. But given the opportunity, he’s taken advantage of it. But everybody’s making a lot out of just the seven games he’s played.”
Terry is right in that Lin has benefitted from the D’Antoni system. Lin has been the perfect fit for the Knicks and that system — he pushes the tempo, sees the court well, plays smart off the pick and roll, plays to his strengths (he goes right) and he’s confidently knocking down outside shots. Is he turning the ball over more than you’d like? Sure. But in his MVP seasons Steve Nash turned the ball over 17 and 20 percent of his possessions — D’Antoni asks a lot of his point guard and tolerates mistakes if other things are going well.
But, as Terry said, Lin has grabbed the advantage given him with both hands.
Other coaches looked at Lin and focused on what he can’t do — his outside shot was shaky, he’s not strong going left — and not what he can do. D’Antoni may have been forced to give him a chance more out of circumstance than desire. But the fact is he does fit.
And after that game Sunday, you would think Terry would be a believer. His response then was that Lin “was a tough kid.”