Throughout their 76-year existence, the New York Knicks have been graced with the presence of many star players and fan-favorite talents.
From Dick McGuire and Walt “Clyde” Frazier to Patrick Ewing and Carmelo Anthony, the Knickerbockers have been blessed with a plethora of top-billed players donning their blue and orange threads since being established back in 1946.
And while the last two decades have predominantly been filled with underwhelming season after underwhelming season, throughout this period there have certainly been a handful of examples that have shown why playing in the metropolitan area can be such an exhilarating experience.
Just recently, Knicks legend Jeremy Lin shed light on such an example, as he sat down with Jonathan Macri of Knicks Film School for an October 7 episode and discussed the love he still feels from New York and the Knicks’ organization to this day, citing the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic as a time when he felt that the organization “still had my back” despite not having played for them since 2012.
“It really hit home when Covid in 2020 was really hurting New York City and, at that time, New York was the hot spot for Covid and it was shutting down and was one of the lowest moments in recent history for the city. And the Knicks decided to do Linsanity week,” Lin told Macri.
“I mean, they could have aired [Patrick] Ewing, or Clyde [Frazier] or whoever. They could have aired a ton of different amazing players and they chose to go with Linsanity week. At that point I knew, like, wow, New York just… they still have my back.”
He would go on to say that it was “really special to process,” and even made light of his tenure with the Knicks, noting that he “didn’t even play 30 games” for the team.
Linsanity Was a Revelation for Knicks
Despite his claim of having played less than 30 games with the club, Lin did see in-game action on 35 separate occasions during his tenure in New York, though the period known best as “Linsanity” went on for 26 games, where he posted phenomenal averages of 18.5 points, 7.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 2 steals.
Leading into game one of this stretch on February 2, 2012, against the, then, New Jersey Nets, the team boasted a sub-par record of 7-15 and was on the outside looking in on a top-eight seed.
Coming in as seemingly a “last resort” substitution for head coach Mike D’Antoni, Lin went on to finish the outing with a stellar stat-line of 25 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals on 52.6% shooting from the field and, ultimately, guided the Knicks to a 99-92 victory in front of a raucous and exuberant home crowd.
From there, the team was able to rattle off seven-straight wins and gathered a 16-10 record before Lin underwent knee surgery that, ultimately, kept him sidelined from February 26 through the end of their campaign.
Despite having his season cut short, the point guard arguably single-handedly saved the Knicks’ campaign, as they wound up finishing 2011-12 off in the seventh seed out in the Eastern Conference and took part in their second playoff appearance in eight years.
That offseason, Lin hit the free agency market where the Houston Rockets offered up a three-year, $25 million deal with a “poison pill” provision that would pay him $14.8 million in the third year, thus bringing an end to his career with the Knicks.
He would go on to play for six other teams from the time of his departure onward, posting averages of 12 points, 4.3 assists, 2.9 rebounds, and a steal per game while winning an NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors in 2018-19, albeit as a mere end of the bench player.
And while he found some success in his following ventures, none of which ever reached the heights that were seen during his brief, yet legendary stint with the New York Knicks.
Knicks Center Hints at Shift in Game Plan
In an October 6 post-practice press conference, Knicks center Mitchell Robinson discussed some alterations that he’s looking to make in his play style, hinting that he’ll be a more self-sufficient offensive threat.
When asked by a reporter during the presser if he’s going to be found posting up more often during this upcoming season, the 24-year-old was rather straightforward with his response.
“Yea, for sure,” Robinson told the reporter. “Because it puts pressure on the defense. I’m pretty sure everybody’s scouting report is just, like, lob, this, that, and that. Gotta add [a post-game]. [I’ve] got to.”
Robinson would continue by saying that, with a regular post-game added to his bag of tricks, it could help the Knicks seriously take advantage of an opposing defense’s scheme.
“A lot of teams are switching as well on defense, so [I can] go right there to the front of the rim, try to figure out how to get the mismatch out of whatever, and, as they’re doing that, we can just pass the ball around,” Mitchell said.