Photo of a race that never was from Flickr, Scott Ableman
It’s not really Keith Smart’s fault, but we were robbed, straight snookered out of a Rookie of the Year candidate without ever even knowing it. But when you have a Monta Ellis and a Stephen Curry in front of you in the rotation what’cha gonna do?
Jeremy Lin played in 29 NBA games last year, but for mere moments in each. He’s about to double his career minutes played in little more than a couple of handfuls of games. For all intents and purposes this is his real NBA debut. It’s a safe bet to assume that not more than about 72 people — the total number of Lin’s professional field goal attempts coming into this season — really believed he’d be doing what he is now.
And what, exactly, is he doing now?
In a recent 5-on-5 the question was posed, and I responded:
Who’s the top rookie of the first six weeks?
I would love to be able to say it’s the adorable Ricky Rubio, but I cannot ignore what Kyrie Irving has done for Cleveland thus far, being in the less-stacked Eastern Conference notwithstanding. Of the past four guards taken first overall in the NBA draft (Irving,Â John Wall,Â Derrick RoseÂ andÂ Allen Iverson), none shot more efficiently from the field or from the 3-point line than Irving in the rookie season, and normalized for minutes played, Irving is also the highest scorer.
ESPN 5-on-5 Debate: Six weeks later, better and best
The results were unanimous concerning Irving, but this was before he got hurt letting Rubio tighten the race. But what if Jeremy Lin was in the 66-game sprint? How would he stack up to the current leaders in the clubhouse had we not been robbed of his real debut?
Considering the market Lin’s been basing hisÂ phenomenal feats from, and the fact he took Rubio out out head-to-head to continue the New York Knicks’ ridiculous run while Irving sits in a suit in Cleveland, sidelined during the height of Linsanity,Â Â does anyone doubt he would have overtaken the lead in this unfortunately fictional dash?
The league is ripe with an up-and-coming crop of point guards, and this batch refreshingly aren’t all combo-guard-clones, as many from the last harvest have been. But how does this current crop stack up to reigning MVP Derrick Rose’s season, last?
The future of the floor general in the NBA is in pretty good hands.