Thursday, February 16, 2012

Reality Check: Jeremy Lin versus Tebow

If you’re anything like me you are already tired of people comparing Jeremy Lin’s accomplishments to Tim Tebow’s. What Lin is doing with the New York Knicks in no way resembles what Tebow did with the Denver Broncos this year.

Sure Lin has played well in the fourth quarter which has drawn comparisons to Tebow-time in Denver but that is where the comparisons begin and end. Lin's play with the Knicks has more in common with Ben Wallace, Tony Romo, Wes Welker or John Starks.

All four of the players I just mentioned were undrafted finds like Lin who came out of nowhere to have great careers. Wallace was an undrafted free agent who spent time on the bench for both the Orlando Magic and the Washington Bullets before becoming a four-time Defensive Player of the Year and NBA Champion with the Detroit Pistons.

Romo went undrafted in the 2004 NFL draft and languished on the Dallas Cowboy’s bench for two seasons before having his breakout season in 2006. He replaced an injured Drew Bledsoe that season and ended up playing in the Pro Bowl that year.  

Welker went undrafted in 2004. He survived the San Diego Chargers’ training camp only to be released after the first game of the season. He was then picked up by the Dolphins, had a decent three-year run there before being traded to the New England Patriots. And the rest they say is history.

John Starks took a path to the NBA that has an eerie resemblance to Lin’s. Like Lin he was undrafted and just like Lin, Starks was first signed by the Golden State Warriors before eventually finding a home with the Knicks. You don’t have to remind Knicks fans what Starks’ contributions meant to them during his time in a Knicks’ uniform.

And by now we all have to know how Lin was undrafted and cut by two teams before being picked up by the Knicks. He has also had a few stints in the NBA’s Developmental League before his breakout game against the New Jersey Nets almost two weeks ago.

Tebow on the other hand has been in the spotlight virtually all of his career. He has won and gained notoriety on all levels of play and was a first round draft pick with the Broncos. Love him or hate him, Tebow has always been there.

And while the winning streak he helped orchestrate with the Broncos was the feel good story of 2011, it was more of a surprise because of how he was winning games. Tebow’s completion percentage was under 50% and he won despite attempting very few passes in some games.

People aren’t doubting Lin for some mechanical flaw he has in his shooting motion and Lin isn’t inspiring people (or angering people) with his faith in God; all issues that were daily talking points in conversations about Tebow.

No Lin is just a really skilled player who somehow got overlooked by the so-called basketball “experts” and draft gurus. An occurrence that surprisingly happens a lot in sports: more often than experts would like to admit.

So the question of where Lin came from and how he could have been overlooked isn’t the question that people should be wondering in the midst of all this Lin-sanity. The question people should really be asking is how many more undiscovered “Lins” are there out there?

Roosevelt Hall is an NBA Blogger for The Sport Mentalist 2 and also writes for Shatter The Backboard. He can be contacted at Follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist and add him on Facebook Roosevelt Hall Thesportmentalist.  

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