Jeremy Lin and the Handshake

You know what I love about this national-level interest in the young, starting New York Knicks Point Guard Jeremy Lin? The NBA’s first American player in the NBA to be of Chinese or Taiwanese descent[1]? Or that he’s a Harvard Grad? What I remember most though, was when I heard about him in the 2010 NBA Summer league[2] and how he was a Harvard Grad. He was soon signed by the G-State Warriors to a 2-year contract.[3] As someone who was a full-time student athlete for nearly 3 seasons, I cheer for a player in the pros from an Ivy League, knowing how hard it is to balance a school schedule and your sport. However, he had a rookie campaign, and his early December release by the club received little attention. Though he was claimed off waivers from the Rockets, he eventually latched on with the Knicks, who were in need of point guard depth due to the unavailability of Baron Davis[4]. However, this past week, Lin has become somewhat of a revelation. Lin has averaged 24 ppg, 8.3 assists, and 1.6 steals in the Knicks’ three straight victories.

I was then alerted[5] this .gif file-

For some explanation, it’s Lin and Stanfurd Grad Landry Fields[6] doing their handshake. So Landry opens a book, Lin skims the book, They both take off their glasses, then place inside their pocket protector. I love that these too hyper-smart players, have a kickass handshake. What great unity and chemistry for this team that’s missing their alpha-dogs in Carmelo and Amare. Lets be honest, Lin and Landry may not last long, not only for this team, but even as players in the league. The former Cardinal finished 8th in the Nation in scoring his senior season, but he fell to 39th overall. This young D’Antoni team featured recent Free Agent Acquisition and a mish-mash of young talent in Ray Felton, Danilo Gallinari, and Wilson Chandler[7]. With the addition of Carmelo, Landry was no longer relied on so much offensively. His numbers fell, my fantasy team was not happy. That brings me to Lin… I’m the proud owner of him in the “The Zephyr League”.[8]

He’s doing all this without Amare and Carmelo. He’s the focal point of the offense as Tyson Chandler is now being relied on. The Knicks are almost playing like a college team, a team who are collectively better as a whole than they are as individuals. Lin can be creative because he doesn’t feel the pressure to run the ball through not Carmelo and Amare[9]. Right now, we’re seeing a hype for Lin that could only be matched by the attention created if Tebow were ever crossed with Jimmer. (Note to members of said league, you can skip the rest of this paragraph and go directly to footnote 9.)

I got to be honest. I don’t see Lin maintaining this. While he doesn’t play the same position as Amare and Carmelo, and certainly wouldn’t take their minutes, he would lose his offensive effectiveness without having the ball. Carmelo will. And what happens if Baron comes back and is effective? Lin would become expendable as he’s not nearly as effective as a back up[10].

This leads me back to Fields. While he may the chance of staying in the starting 5 for the foreseeable future, but if the Knicks have a great (or huge contract PG) he would become their most expendable starter. If the front office wants to go after a better point guard, he becomes the best trade chip for the team.[11]

So these guys, in my opinion, may not have that much time left in the NBA. Don’t get me wrong—I want especially Lin, and Fields to exceed[12], but I’m just saying I wouldn’t be as surprised if they’re soon off the Knicks, and in Lin’s case out of the league.

That’s why this is the coolest handshake in the league. Bar-none. It’s classic, combines extensive and intricate motions, positions and creativity. It’s a pact between two ridiculously smart[13] players. It’s also a sign of what’s missing in the League, to be continued…[14]

Follow Colin on Twitter: @zephyrbacardi


[1] Lin is also a Bay-Area native, shout-out to all Golden Bears.

[2] Lin averaged 9.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.2 steals in 18.6 minutes per game, and impressively 54.5%. But that’s not he’s remembered for. In a head-2-head matchup against former Wildcat, and 1st overall pick John Wall. Lin held Wall to just 4-19 shooting in 33 minutes, while also going 6-12 in route to 13 points.

[3] Where he would back-up Steph Curry for 28 games, averaging just 2.6 points and 1.4 assists in just 9.8

[4] The Knicks disastrously tried rookie but freak athlete Iman Shumpert and vet Toney Douglas at the point. Their ineffectiveness caused friction in the offense (due to not having a strong and distributor, Carmelo was thus responsible for having the ball at all times…).

[5] From @RohitGhosh

[7] These players, along with Timofey Mozgov, a future 1st round and two future 2’s for Carmelo, Chauncey and perhaps my favorite part of it Balkman (ISIAAAAHHH)

[8] Notorious Black holes

[9] Lin in on the Block!

[11] See future article titled “Fans of the Knicks v. Isaiah Thomas”

[12] but damn you Stanfurd

[13] All sports have them. NFL with Toby Geahart and future draft picks Andrew Luck, Jonathon Martin(stanfurd). MLB with Princeton Alum Chris Young (also former Sacramento King! The unconventional dual-pro!) and Mark DeRosa from the Wharton School of Business.

[14] Cliffhander