Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Amazin' Asian

There really is no end in sight. The best, out-of-nowhere, racial-boundary-crossing, feel-good, big-market NBA cinderella shows no signs of letting up.

Jeremy Lin is legit.

I am now of the firm belief that Lin's sudden rise is no gimmick, no schtick. Just a legitimate case of an overlooked talent, who finally gets his shot. The kid can play, and if the rest of the Knicks' overpriced primmadonnas buy in (ahem... looking at YOU, 'Melo..) then we are looking at a dynamic and dangerous Eastern Conference Contender for years to come.

Is the marketing and hype of this kid overboard? Of course. But it's harmless fun, so just ride it.

I was wondering early on, if Lin was more Billy Volek than Kurt Warner. (Sorry, I just couldn't find a more suitable basketball comparison, so this will have to suffice.)

Volek was a scrub bench warmer for the Titans, who came on like gangbusgters in the 2004 NFL season to singlehandedly win millions of fantasy leagues as an oh-by-the-way pickup late in that season.

In just 8 starts, Volek threw for 18 touchdowns at a 61% clip. He went for 426-4 and 492-4 in BACK-TO-BACK weeks late in the year. Never mind that the Titans lost those games. The guy was ON FIRE.

So next year, Volek puts back on the baseball hat for injured starter Steve McNair, and basically melts into the backround. Then he goes to San Diego, and in his 5 seasons there, has thrown exactly 44 passes.

Legend, over.

Kurt Warner, meanwhile, remains the gold standard of out-of-nowhere sports legends. Even better than Unitas, in my opinion.
Steelers coach Walt Kiesling never even let Unitas take a snap in practice with the Steelers. Among those edging out Unitas was Ted Marchibroda, future NFL quarterback and longtime NFL head coach. Married with a child and out of pro football, Unitas worked in construction in Pittsburgh to support his family. On the weekends, he played quarterback, safety and punter on a local semipro team called the Bloomfield Rams for $6 a game.
You know how it worked out with Unitas. With Warner, it happened in living modern televised color. In an age of football far more advanced than back in Johnny U's era. With increasing levels of sophistication being applied to scouting and player development, you wonder how any such talents slip through the cracks.

Warner burst onto the football world like a supernova, throwing for an absurd 41-21-and-36 touchdowns in his first 3 years as a starter. Won a Super Bowl, should have won a second (thanks Mike Martz, clown) and then after being seemingly finished, resurrected himself one more time and should have won a 3rd Super Bowl (thanks James Harrison and Santonio Holmes).

Could Lin be the basketball Kurt Warner?


Sometimes, all talent needs is a chance.

1 comment:

  1. Jeremy Tebow

    But Lin's not an outspoken Christian...