Jeremy Lin “Wasn’t There Yet” As Knicks Point Guard Last Season, Says Tyson Chandler
New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler thinks Jeremy Lin (above) was too inexperienced at the point guard position to run the team's offense last season. (Photo: REUTERS / Adam Hunger)
Ever since the New York Knicks opened training camp last week, the players and coaches have tried to move on from former point guard Jeremy Lin. Head coach Mike Woodson in particular refused to talk about Lin during the team's recent media day.
But over the weekend, center Tyson Chandler made some interesting comments about his former teammate. Chandler was talking about some of the team's free agent signings, particularly veteran point guards Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd. Chandler noted that these two had the key experience that was lacking at the position last season.
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"Jeremy was a young point guard who was just learning," Chandler said, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. "He was trying to figure out how to run an offense. He brought a lot to this organization but as far as being able to run the offense and put players in the right positions he wasn't there yet. We have veteran point guards now who are capable of doing that."
"The toughest thing last year was that our best players were at the three, four and five spots with nobody to get them the ball in the right places."
According to the article, Chandler emphasized in his interview that he was not criticizing Lin as a player. He was simply noting that Lin was more comfortable as a scoring point guard. This allowed him to work well with one of the Knicks superstars, Amar'e Stoudemire, as the two could create pick and rolls together. But, Chandler continued, Lin was less compatible with Carmelo Anthony, who prefers to make his own shots.
"[Last season,] Melo went to playing the point and making a lot of the decisions," Chandler said. " Although he's capable, I feel like it was putting too much on him. This year with the point guards we've got he can play his natural position and be a finisher. And Amar'e can do the same."
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The Knicks seemed to somewhat agree with Chandler's assessment. Isola wrote that they were determined to sign a veteran point guard in the offseason and originally targeted Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns. New York then settled for Kidd when Nash was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Only when Lin asked for more money from the Houston Rockets did the Knicks realize they needed a second point guard (Felton) in case Lin decided to leave, which he ultimately did.
Stoudemire and Anthony should be helped by having two true point guards on the roster this season. But it still remains to be seen how well Felton and Kidd will work with the two superstars. Felton played with Stoudemire during his first stint in New York but was traded to Denver when the Knicks acquired Anthony.
Chandler may have high expectations now, but if the Knicks struggle early in the year, fans will continue to grumble about the team's decision to let Lin leave.
Even if the coaches refuse to talk about him.