Greatest free agency signings in NBA history: 14. Jeremy Lin, New York Knicks, 2011
For the most part, point guard Jeremy Lin has settled into a relatively mundane NBA existence. He’s bounced around quite a bit over his nine-year career, but wherever he’s landed, Lin has always provided an offensive spark for his teams, even at the cost of good defense (I hope no Lin fans read this and give me flack for stating the obvious about his defense).
But I’m not here to get into what Lin did with the Atlanta Hawks or the Brooklyn Nets. I’m here to discuss two weeks in November 2012 where Lin looked like one of the best point guards in the NBA.
Let’s start with his origins. After going undrafted in the 2010 draft, the Warriors decided to take a chance on him. With Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry healthy for most of the season, Lin didn’t receive much playing time outside of blowouts, producing only 2.6 points in 9.8 minutes. He probably spent more time bouncing around the D-League (now G League) than anything else, until the Warriors waived him in December of the following season.
The Knicks picked him up a couple of weeks later and while it looked like Lin would once again be stuck at the of the bench. In fact, the team actually considered waiving him to look for another guard when Baron Davis struggled with injuries and Carmelo Anthony went down.
Needing a spark, then-Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni went with Lin and what followed was something no one could have predicted; he averaged 23.9 points and 9.2 assists with a .500/.361/.732 shooting line, helping the Knicks win nine of their next 11 games.
Lin was named the starter for the rest of the season and while he cooled off a little bit — thanks mostly to Anthony returning to dominate most possessions — he still aided the Knicks in reaching the playoffs, where they lost in five to the Miami Heat.
Of course, the Knicks found a way to screw it up when they let him sign with the Rockets. But they’ll always have those two weeks in February 2011.