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Jeremy Lin, welcome to your post-D’Antoni life

Mike Woodson as the head coach in New York might mean the end of Jeremy Lin as the centerpiece of the Knicks and of Linsanity as we know it. (Photo: @art3ye)

Whoever said the month of March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb obviously never lived in Beijing (as evidenced by our two inches of snow last night), nor did they ever consider Jeremy Lin’s career as a New York Knick.

Mike D’Antoni’s resignation the Knicks head coach quickly became the headline of Trade Deadline Thursday, and while we were a little shocked given its timing and nature, we were and still are far more concerned for what it means to the world’s favorite Linsation.

What it means essentially is that March won’t be as good to Lin as February was. The simple stuff goes like this: The old D’Antoni being replaced by the new Mike Woodson means the end of Lin’s best friend, the pick-and-roll, and the beginning of a lot of Carmelo Anthony isolations on the Knicks logo inside the three-point line, and maybe an equal amount, but probably not as much of isolations on the right elbow for Amar’e Stoudemire. Anyone who watched the Hawks during the iso-Joe (Johnson) days knows that, which is why it wasn’t surprising when Woodson said that plans on making some “changes” to D’Antoni’s point-guard centered offense.

Those changes won’t put Lin on the bench right now — Woodson said #17 is still the starter — but, given the coach’s reputation in Atlanta as one prefers to get the rock to his superstars and have his veteran supporting cast fill in the rest, there is considerable speculation that Lin will eventually make way for Baron Davis. Some people think that result is practically guaranteed. The New York Post’s Frank Isola has a source who thinks that change will come in less than two weeks, while the New Times’ Howard Beck has someone who has worked with Woodson saying his “inclination would not be to play him.”

The more complicated stuff can be read in Kelly Dwyer’s great piece the Knicks’ current conundrum on Ball Don’t Lie that kindly points out that Amar’e has turned into a spot-up jump shooter, and that Davis and Lin shouldn’t turn into spot-up shooters, which is exactly what they’ll become when they dump it into either one of their superstar teammates and promptly cut to the weak side.

With Linsanity already having slowed down considerably from the full-blown five-alarm contagion that spread throughout the world throughout February, the new writing on the proverbial wall (and newspaper) caused the New York Post to officially lay the phenomenon to rest on its Friday front page.

We hope that declaration is premature, but there’s no denying that things are looking to be quite different in MSG. (Of course, more 19-7-6’s wont hurt Lin’s cause to keep playing 30+ minutes a night.) We just wonder, why things have to be different. Well actually, we do know the answer to that: Anthony and Stoudemire have four years and roughly $83 million on the rest of their deals, while Lin is on a minimum contract that expires at the end of the season.

But we can still shake our heads as to how. How can a guy who came in, won games, brought his teammates together, brought the Knicks back to relevance and created an NYC/international phenomenon, be pushed out so casually?

Oh right. It’s the New York Knicks.


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