New York Knicks, 2011-12
Role: Starting Point Guard (his last 25 games)
Prior to the 2011-12 season, the Houston Rockets claimed Lin off waivers. Lin played just two pre-season games in Houston. Unfortunately for Lin, the Rockets were already stacked with point guards (Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic, and Jonny Flynn were all on guaranteed deals), and they subsequently waived Lin before the season began.
On December 27, 2012, the Knicks picked Lin up after an injury to Iman Shumpert. However, because of the lockout, Lin barely had the chance to play, and was fourth on the point guard depth chart. Nevertheless, Lin continued to work hard, as he was the first to arrive at practice (and the last to leave).
Despite his dedication and strong work ethic, he still served as a benchwarmer for the Knicks and only received scrap minutes in his first five games with the Knicks. On January 12, 2012, Lin, along with teammate Jerome Jordan, were assigned to the Erie Bayhawks of the D-League. Lin made the most of his time there, as he posted a triple-double (28 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists) on January 20 against the Maine Red Claws. Finally, three days later, the Knicks recalled Lin.
Lin made his second Knicks debut the next day against the Charlotte Bobcats, when he again did not receive significant minutes. It wasn’t until four games later that Lin got the chance to see more action.
On February 4 against the New Jersey Nets, Lin exploded for 25 points, seven assists, and two steals in 36 minutes off the bench.
The rest is history.
With Lin starting at point guard for the next 25 games, the Knicks were able to boost their record to 20-15. Lin would miss the rest of the season after it was revealed he had a meniscus tear in his left knee. New York squeezed their way into the playoffs, where they fell in the first round to the Miami Heat.
Ultimately, Lin’s breakout was only able to happen because Shumpert sprained his knee and Baron Davis faced another setback that didn’t allow him to return. Had Shumpert and Davis been available, “Linsanity” would not have happened.
Next: High Expectations