Jeremy Lin, whose sudden emergence as an NBA superstar has become the hottest story in the league, was chosen the Eastern Conference’s player of the week after a four-game stretch that has been virtually unheard of in league history.
Lin went for 28, 23, 38 and 20 points in four starts last week, the 38 coming noticeably against the Lakers at Madison Square Garden. He averaged an unprecedented 29.7 points a game in the first three, his first three starts in the league.
The big question, of course, is how will Lin fare once the Knicks’ two high-scoring forwards –- Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony –- return to the lineup. Anthony, in particular, and Stoudemire will need to have the ball to be effective, so it’s difficult to imagine that Lin’s offensive production can continue at the stratospheric level it has been.
Stoudemire, out while dealing with the death of his brother, told the New York Daily News that Lin’s performances were the bright spots of his week.
"The only positive for us during that whole week was we were watching the basketball games and we were watching Linsanity," Stoudemire told the Daily News. “My family was getting a kick out of it. That's the only smiles they really had all week. It was great to see that. It's been a tough week."
Anthony, once he returns from a strained groin, will in all likelihood need to change his approach a bit. The Knicks had tried to mold him into a "point forward," a position for which he never seemed ideally suited and one that with Lin running the show is no longer needed.
Lin’s influence, of course, has reached way off the court. There is speculation that the attention he has brought to the Knicks might even help end the rift between the Madison Square Garden Network and Time Warner Cable. His name has exploded on Twitter and throughout the Internet; marketing experts are lining up to explain how he could rival almost any other athlete.
We'll see how the Lin story pans out over the long run, but one thing is for certain: the last week has been a phenomenon worth watching.
Photo: Jeremy Lin celebrates after hitting a three-point shot against the Lakers. Credit: Jim McIsaac / Newsday / McClatchy-Tribune