It was almost a throwaway line but it’s reignited the controversy over why the Knicks didn’t re-sign Jeremy Lin in 2012 ... and why they (supposedly) weren’t interested in recruiting him this summer.
Brian Lewis reported Sunday, in a story about Lin being featured in a Hulk comic ...
“If my life was done by what everyone else expected of me, I would’ve been done with playing a long time ago. I don’t really care what anyone else has to say,’’ said Lin, whose struggles on defense left the Knicks uninterested in a reunion, a source told The Post.
But Hornets coach Steve Clifford praised Lin’s defense to the Charlotte Observer.
It was a variant of a line that another Post writer, Marc Berman used back in June but it set off a firestorm of criticism from Lin fans and others, pundits included.
Robin Lundberg of ESPN Radio did his part, starting with this...
Lin would have been best defensive guard on Knicks by a mile. https://t.co/LPVunygUDG— Robin Lundberg (@robinlundberg) September 18, 2016
In a series of tweets, Lundberg also criticized the Knicks treatment of Lin back then. He even New York as the “worst organization in sports” before deleting the tweet.
Let’s be clear: Today, Jeremy Lin is a better defender than Derrick Rose. That wasn’t the case five years ago, but it is now. Look at figures like defensive win shares or ESPN’s real plus/minus and you can see it in the stats, or better yet watch them both play within their systems and it’s clear.
It didn’t stop there. Matt Moore of CBS Sports quickly wrote up a column, headlined “Here’s why the Knicks were reportedly uninterested in Jeremy Lin in free agency — Knicks continue to try and re-imagine history after letting a popular player walk amid talk of conflict between star players.”
Moore cites stats from both Linsanity and last season to show that his teams were better defenders when he was on the court.
The bigger thing here is that the Knicks continue to try to re-imagine history. Linsanity was not a thing the Knicks anticipated, and that was in part unlocked by then-coach Mike D'Antoni who was fired later that season after clashes with Anthony. This doesn't have to be all Anthony's fault, and Anthony made a real effort last season to mesh with Kristaps Porzingis. But there's substantially more reason to think the Knicks let Lin go and continue to not pursue him because of his defense.
Because any examination of that theory doesn't hold up at all.
Knicks re-imagining history? No. Really?