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Linsanity: Is Jeremy Lin the real deal?

February 16th, 2012

Linsanity. Linsane in the membrane. Happy VaLINtines Day. Just Lin Baby.

By now, you’ve heard all of the puns and nicknames that have been made in the past week for New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin. Perhaps even more disturbing than Lin’s long list of nicknames is the fact that SportsCenter and ESPN actually dedicate time to ranking these nicknames.

At this point, the only question on every NBA fan’s mind when it comes to Lin is simple: Is he for real?

Considering the fact that Lin is an Asian-American, went to college at Harvard, was an undrafted rookie and was cut by both the Warriors and Rockets, what he has done as of late is nothing short of impressive. At the beginning of this month, a very small percentage of NBA fans would even recognize the name “Jeremy Lin” on a roster.

Is Jeremy Lin a talented basketball player? Absolutely. Is he taking the world, especially the Internet, by storm lately? Without a doubt. Can he keep this impressive style of play up for the remainder of the season? Eh, that’s where I start to have my doubts.

In his last five games, his first five starts in the NBA, Lin is averaging 26.8 points per game, 8.0 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game while leading the Knicks to a win in each of those five games as well. Those are superstar numbers, without a doubt, but I’m not optimistic that Lin can sustain this jaw-dropping play for too much longer.

During that five-game stretch, Lin is shooting 63 percent on jumpshots from 16-23 feet and 55 percent on jumpshots from 10-15 feet. Those numbers are absolutely incredible for any player in this league, especially a second-year, undrafted kid from Harvard.

To put those numbers in perspective, Kobe Bryant’s career high in a season on jumpshots in the 16-23 foot range is 44 percent. Right now, Lin is shooting almost 20 percent better than that mark. I wouldn’t expect that to continue for the remainder of the season. Lin also is getting more shot opportunities as of late with both Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire currently injured for the Knicks. Therefore, it seems almost inevitable that Lin’s opportunities will decrease once Anthony and Stoudemire return to the lineup. Taking all of that into consideration, it seems very unlikely that Lin can continue to put up these types of statistics all year long.

Then again, it seemed unlikely that he would be doing what he is right now in the first place.

Follow @ZachMentz on Twitter or email him at zmentz14@jcu.edu