Perhaps the biggest name in the NBA over the last couple of days resided at the end of the Warriors' bench for all of 2010/11, and boy does he have them kicking themselves for letting the talented 23 year-old get away.
To their credit, nobody could have foreseen this outburst from Palo Alto's own, 6'3", 200 pound point guard. As one of the Warriors front office members said on KNBR this week, "we liked him, and wanted to keep him but had no idea he had this capability". He also alluded to the fact that the Warriors tried to re-sign him after waiving him, which makes little to no sense whatsoever. I mean, why in the hell would you cut a guy if you have hopes that you'll be able to bring him back when money is not an issue? They had him on their D-League team a lot last season, so it's not like he was using up a rosters spot and could have send him back there again instead of cutting him, which is exactly where New York sent him upon signing him. At the same time and to be fair, the W's aren't the only team that passed on the point guard this offseason. He was cut from the Houston Rockets before the season, then landed with point guard-starved New York for the start of the season and spent much of the first month in the D-League. However, since his insertion into the Knicks starting lineup, they've gone 3-0 while the sophomore has averaged 26 points, 9 assists and 3 rebounds. The one area that Lin hasn't yet polished up, and quite possibly the reason why the Warriors did end up letting him lose, is he's not yet a polished jump-shooter. He's not much of a threat from beyond the arch yet and most of his points and assists come off of dribble penetrations. The Warriors probably figured they were already set at the guard position, so much so that they had two guys in Brandon Rush and Klay Thompson, who were destined for big minutes and just didn't see any room for Lin.
But boy how they were wrong. Had Lin stuck around in a Warriors uni, he would have gotten his shot when Curry went down earlier this year and probably would have taken right off like he has in New York. Now, again, this is all "coulda, woulda, shoulda" talk, but just think what would have happened if he did stay and bust out like that in Steph's absence? I'll tell you what I think. The Warriors would have felt a lot more comfortable trading Steph, along with maybe Udoh and gotten themselves a much needed man in the middle. I know, surprise, surprise, here I am talking about needing another big man again, but if the Warriors had a guy like Lin still on the roster, it would sure as hell make dealing away Steph for that big man a whole lot more logical. I mean, I know Warrior fans may scold me a bit for saying it, but I just don't think Stephen Curry is all that and some like most W's fans believe/want him to be. He's an injury-prone tweener-guard, who isn't strong enough to guard shooting guard and although he looks good running the offense at times, he's a subpar defensive player and has a frail body frame. That said, he's got special talents and he's a pure offensive wizard when he's right. But when he can't drive with authority, like now with that ankle a major problem, then he basically becomes a slowish spot up shooter who can handle and pass a bit. I've never made any bones about it that the guy I'd trade between Monta and Steph would be Steph, and I look more and more right each game.