Thursday, February 16, 2012
Updated: February 17, 9:37 AM ET
Jeremy Lin credits Carmelo Anthony
By Jared Zwerling
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin may not have gotten a shot with the Knicks if it wasn't for the one player who critics say will interfere with the Knicks' upward trajectory: small forward Carmelo Anthony.
While appearing Thursday afternoon on ESPN New York 1050's "The Michael Kay Show," Lin confirmed that Anthony told coach Mike D'Antoni to put him in the Knicks' Feb. 4 game against the New Jersey Nets, which was Lin's breakout performance. He scored 25 points and had seven assists off the bench, before being named a starter two days later against the Utah Jazz.
On whether Lin appreciated Anthony's gesture, the second-year player said, "Of course! ... I didn't hear about that until after the game."
Based on what Anthony did for his career, Lin finds it all the more surprising that people talk about the Knicks' superstar not jelling with the team's new and improved point guard-focused system. Lin said Anthony wants to feed off of the Knicks' current success.
"That's why I think it's funny right now," Lin said. "Some people are talking about, 'Oh, can Melo adjust into the system?' I mean, Melo wants to adjust to the system, and he doesn't want to shoot 30 shots a game. The fact that he vouched for me shows a lot about him."
On the radio show, Lin raved about Anthony's scoring and playmaking, and said he'll benefit from the Knicks' upgraded pick-and-roll play. Lin said Anthony can either come off the pick-and-roll or take advantage of screen-and-dish opportunities.
"You can pretty much give him the ball in any situation, in any circumstance, and he'll make something good happen," Lin said. "I think that's the beauty of having him on the team. ... He's going to add a different dimension. There will be times where we'll have to figure it out and adjust, but we're definitely going to do that and we're going to make the most of it and become an even better offensive team."
Reflecting on his sudden rise, Lin admits now there was "a lot of frustration" this season over not being able to showcase his talents, after he felt like he stepped up his game during the summer.
He struggled with the fact that when he first signed with the Houston Rockets in December 2011, he was the sixth point guard on the depth chart. Then, in New York, he felt the pressure that any one performance could make or break his time.
Now, he's glad Anthony, and eventually D'Antoni, gave him the opportunity.
"It was worth the wait," Lin said.
Jared Zwerling is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.