Brian DiMennaFirst with the admission, yes, I thought the Knicks should have kept Jeremy Lin, and was extremely upset when they didn’t. I think I sighed deeply and had a drink. Cue the “You’re an idiot! REAL Fans knew they made the right move! I hate you and your family!”
But putting Lin aside — which at this point, we all should, even if after eight games, I’m personally not ready to write off his entire career — I think these were the things I most underestimated about the duo that has had as much to do with the Knicks’ torrid start as anyone.
To my mind, it was underappreciated how much of an improvement over last year’s point guards the combo of Kidd and Felton would be. This really shouldn’t have been missed, as aside from those 25 games from Lin, the combination of Shump playing out of position, Toney Douglas doing what Tony do, Baron Davis doing whatever exactly that was and Mike Bibby just … uh … something, the Knicks were completely dysfunctional at point guard. Felton-Kidd was a MASSIVE improvement and you’re seeing it night in and night out.
I think like most Knicks fans, despite the whole Lin hullabaloo, I was eager to see Felton return. I know the Portland faithful came to loathe him in a deep place in their souls, but during his time in New York he was an absolute pleasure. When he was included in the trade for Melo, I was genuinely sad to see him go. But I think one of the things that I didn’t think about at the time, is that having Felton as opposed to Lin was just going to be much less of a headache.
In Felton, the Knicks just have a professional, a guy that’s expected to play well, but not expected to live up to some insane hype machine. He wasn’t the leader of a movement. Let’s face it, had Lin started the season in New York like he has in Houston, the media would be all over him. The Carmelo/Lin relationship would be getting dissected ad nauseam, with the body language police out in full force to see who was ruining who. It could easily have dissolved into the type of nightmare New York is famous for.
With Felton, there’s none of that noise. He’s just a solid player, playing very well and that’s all he needs to be.
Aside from that, I suppose I should have known how quickly any misgivings about Jason Kidd would wash away. I’ve always admired his game, but given all those years he torched the Knicks in Jersey, he was a player I’d developed a certain distaste for, so watching him at the tail end of his career was not something I was eager to do.
Those hesitations lasted all of ten minutes, before the reality of watching the guy play washed away any ill will. Kidd is just one of those guys with such a perfect feel for the game it really is awesome to watch. Naturally, I should have seen this coming, I’m a sports fan, by definition I have no integrity. Latrell Sprewell literally strangled a coach, and I welcomed him lovingly, certain that the new uniform had made him a changed man. And so it was.
So the combination of Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd may not be as popular with headline writers, but maybe we’d had enough Lin-inspired puns to last us a lifetime anyway.
This isn’t insanity, it’s just really good.