NEW YORK (WFAN) – Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin has been compared to Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.
But how about something closer to the hardcourt?
Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire took care of that Monday when he stacked Lin up against two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash.
“I see similarities in their games,” Stoudemire said Monday, according to the New York Post. “Lin, he’s finding guys out there, he’s playing totally unselfish, he’s taking what the defense gives him and he’s studying.”
Nash, an eight-time All-Star, and Stoudemire were part of the perennial playoff contender Phoenix Suns while under current Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni.
Lin was chosen as Eastern Conference player of the week after averaging 27.3 points and 8.3 assists in his first four starts. The Knicks have won five in a row heading into Toronto on Tuesday, turning things around after an 8-15 start.
“That’s what you want from your point guard, a guy who wants to be that facilitator and get guys involved and get guys open shots and pass the ball right on the numbers where they can catch and shoot,” said Stoudemire. “It’s what we’ve been talking about all year, and it’s finally happened.”
Lin sat out practice to rest, but Stoudemire was back on the floor after leaving the team last Monday after his older brother, Hazell, was killed in a car crash.
“The only positive for us during that whole week was we were watching the basketball games and we were watching Linsanity and my family was getting a kick out of it,” Stoudemire said. “That’s the only smiles really they had all week.”
But amid all the good feelings around the Knicks, there was the question that won’t go away until the whole team is together in a game.
Carmelo Anthony, who has battled injuries much of the season, strained his right groin just six minutes into Lin’s starting debut against Utah last Monday, and the Knicks hope he’ll be back at the end of this week. He’s never seemed a natural in the pick-and-roll offense, given his preference to isolate and take his man 1-on-1. That’s created questions of how — or if — he will adapt to playing with Lin.
“There is no reason why Amar’e and Melo can’t both flourish in this system,” D’Antoni told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Monday. “We all need to do some soul searching if we can’t make this thing work.”
Listen: D’Antoni talks Lin with Francesa
“My teammates know what I bring to the team and the only thing I can do is just go out there and continue doing what I’m doing,” said Anthony. “Like I said, Jeremy, he’s our point guard right now, he’s proven that, he’s playing extremely well, and I look forward to playing with him, I’ll tell you that.”
Lin, the NBA’s first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese decent, came with little expectations after he was undrafted out of Harvard and cut by two other teams before the Knicks picked him up in December. That underdog quality made him easy to root for in New York, even before he turned around the Knicks’ season.
The Knicks expect Lin’s numbers to drop once the regulars are back. But they have a chance to keep the wins going, with three straight games against sub-.500 teams this week.
“It’s such a good story, so unexpected,” D’Antoni told Francesa. “For a team struggling, in a city starved for winning basketball, it’s just a perfect storm.”
Will “Linsanity” continue with Stoudemire and Anthony back in the fold? Sound off below…
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