Though Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin wasn’t named to the All-Star team, his out-of-nowhere performance since being thrown into the lineup just over a week ago against New Jersey has been All-Star caliber.
Lin put up 20 points, eight assists, and six rebounds in the Knicks 100–98 win Saturday night at Minnesota; New York is now 5–0 since inserting the relative unknown point guard into the rotation.
The victory-earning performance Saturday night by Lin though was actually a little below the high standard he’s suddenly set for himself. Lin said on the Knicks website, “I struggled a lot tonight, but everybody who came in gave us a lift though. They [Minnesota] did a good job of playing me in the gray areas and making my decisions not necessarily clear—this is really just a credit to the team.”
Lin’s story is remarkable for the NBA. Most future NBA stars are spotted early and drafted accordingly.
When Steve Nash won his first MVP in 2005, the former 15th overall pick became the lowest-drafted MVP since the NBA merged with the ABA in 1976.
Nash averaged 15.5 points and 11.5 assists that year for the 62-20 Phoenix Suns that year, who were coached, coincidentally, by current Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni.
To think Lin has a chance at MVP honors after getting very little playing time through the first 23 games of the season is out of the question. But for comparison purposes his performance since getting a regular chance on Feb. 4 compares favorably with current All-Star guards Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and last year’s MVP Derrick Rose (see chart).