Mar 6, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin (17) and head coach Mike D'Antoni react in the second half against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.The Mavs beat the Knicks 95-85. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Both men had their numbers inflated, both were given crazy contracts
The merits of the contract offered to Jeremy Lin and his overall talent level after a brief period of success has been discussed a lot recently. I've been trying to think of another player who had their numbers inflated for whatever reason, had their value inflated, and then received a contract they didn't deserve. Then it came to me, and he has a Houston connection, Kaz Matsui. I know what you're thinking, but hear me out.
Yes, they played different sports but I think a comparison can be drawn. Kaz Matsui in two and half seasons (239 games) with the Mets hit for a .256 batting average with a .308 on base percentage, .363 slugging percentage, and scored 106 runs. During a season and a half with the Rockies (136 games), Matsui had a .300 batting average, .350 on base percentage, .426 slugging percentage and scored 106 runs; night and day difference. His numbers were inflated by playing at Coors Field, the Astros gave him a stupid three year contract for 16.5 million, and he was a disaster in Houston with .259 batting average.
Similarly, Jeremy Lin went undrafted and was cut by two teams; similar in the fact that he wasn't well thought of by most teams initially. Lin found his way into the starting lineup in February after injuries to other Knicks guards and put up big numbers for a couple weeks in Mike D'Antoni's system. Similar to inflated numbers from a quarterback in a run-and-shoot offense like Texas Tech, players and especially point guards in D'Antoni's system put up numbers better than their talent would suggest. For example, Chris Duhon, a journeyman, averaged career highs in points, assists, and field goal percentage during the 2008-2009 season. Outside of his years in New York, he was barely an average backup in Chicago and Orlando. A couple years later, Raymond Felton also posted career highs with 17.1 points and 9 assists per game in 54 starts with the Knicks. With the Knicks, Felton played at an All-Star caliber level; he was just a guy with every other team.
In the six games after D'Antoni was fired, Lin averaged 14 points, 5 assists, 3 turnovers, and shot 42% from the field; numbers close to what he'll likely average in Houston. Decent numbers, but not special, something that has become a trend now with Felton, Duhon, and soon Jeremy Lin. Numbers sometimes lie, sadly Daryl Morey didn't learn from the Astros mistake.