Linsanity a bit muted but the kid still attracts a crowd
Linsanity may not be dead – there were still about four times the usual number of media at New York Knicks shootaround Friday morning – but it’s at least calmed down a bit.
Considering there were 17 TV cameras and about 75 media members packed into the Air Canada Centre press room the first time Jeremy Lin and the Knicks came to town this season, facing only five or six cameras and about 30 media types must have felt like a day off.
And the Knicks did little to exacerbate the situation, too; leaving Lin to do his chatting in the team’s locker room while coach Mike Woodson was chatting in the hall, a nice piece of bait and switch that gave Lin almost a morning off.
But it’s never been about what he says as much as it’s been about what he does and what he’s doing now on the court mirrors the relative calm that’s enveloped the Knicks in the last little while.
Ever since Mike D’Antoni took his leave just over a week ago, the Knicks have been practically silent, rattling off five straight wins without nearly the fervor that was created when Linsanity was born.
It’s now far more about the team than the formerly unheralded point guard who caused such a sensation.
“It’s not as many pick-and-rolls, he’s getting guys in the right place, he’s got a great balance between pick and rolls and distributing the ball to Carmelo (Anthony) and (Amar’e) Stoudemire,” said Raptors coach Dwane Casey.
“He’s still got that ability to go one-on-one but also at the same time, he’s looking for other people.”
But there’s still enough hype to make Friday night’s game a little bit special. The game will be broadcast in Mandarin on the OMNI network – a first for a Raptors game – and the reporting ranks are swelled to at least twice the norm.
All because of Lin, who continues to take his fame in stride. He does his media and makes sure to put the team first, he seems uncomfortable being the lone focus of attention and everyone in the organization appreciates it.
“It’s okay, it comes with the territory,” was how Woodson put it. “I think playing in New York and the fact he had that run that was phenomenal but as long as it doesn’t get to his head and he stays focused and steady in terms of what team is about …”
And that’s kind of what’s happened with the Knicks. They’ve all of a sudden become a sharing, caring bunch and it’s elevated them all the way to eighth in the Eastern Conference.
“I think they just changed some calls and Melo and Stoudemire are a little more involved now,” said Toronto’s Jose Calderon. “Before it was more like a transition game all the time, more like freedom for everybody but still, I think he’s (Lin) been doing a pretty good job running the team and hitting shots.
“Maybe he’s not scoring 30 but he’s still playing good.”
And drawing a bit of a crowd; even if it isn’t as big as it once was.