As the media were allowed into Knicks practice on Friday, they saw something unexpected: Jeremy Lin and Baron Davis playing on the floor together, on the same team, with the rest of the starting unit during a scrimmage.
It’s certainly an interesting idea, and one that would be even more interesting to see in a real game situation. Beyond that, all it does is fire up the rumor mill, as Marc Berman of the New York Post explains:
D’Antoni has called Lin and Davis a potential “two-headed monster,’’ but his experimenting yesterday raised eyebrows, especially amid rumblings Davis could supplant Lin as starting point guard in April.
The Knicks front office probably would not want to see Lin lose his starting job because he has become a marketing cash cow for the organization on the sale of Linsanity shirts alone.
If Davis, who has played just four games after sitting out nearly two months because of a herniated disk, progresses to a very high level, the two-time All-Star could squeeze into the starting lineup at the expense of shooting guard Landry Fields with Lin playing off the ball.
Now, before Knicks fans head to the ledge of their nearest tall building, this isn’t implying that Davis would replace Lin in the starting lineup, or even gobble up any of Lin’s minutes. It’s just speculation that Davis, who plays at a slower pace and theoretically has more experience running an NBA offense, might have the ball in his hands more, with Lin being asked to score a little more and play (at times) without the ball to begin possessions.
The part about the Knicks front office not wanting to see Lin play with the reserves because of marketing and financial reasons is, frankly, just plain false. Whether Lin starts or comes off the bench isn’t relevant; his presence on this team has been cemented with his consistently stellar play. And, winning games and getting back to the playoffs will bring more money and positive attention to the franchise than the feel-good Lin story — which has already calmed down quite a bit, by the way — ever could.
Besides, that’s not even what we’re talking about.
D’Antoni is simply experimenting with adjusting Lin’s role, while trying to allow Davis to get more minutes alongside the team’s top talent — in practice, mind you, which is the place do such things. He’s going to try every combination possible to get the most from his roster, and rumors and speculation about what that might mean for Lin isn’t going to change that.