Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: Jeremy Lin

Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin’s meteoric rise to NBA superstardom has captured the imagination of the global hoops nation, and just about everyone who engages social media. In a week’s time, Lin has gone from a little known bench warmer to a top-trending topic on Twitter whose #17 is the best-selling jersey in the league due to his dramatic debut in New York’s starting lineup.

Lin played four years at Harvard and was named to the All-Ivy League First Team as a junior and senior, guiding Harvard to its first postseason tournament since 1946 and becoming the first player in Ivy League history with 1,450 points, 450 rebounds, 400 assists and 200 steals. Undrafted out of Harvard, Lin signed as a free agent with the Golden State Warriors for the 2010-11 season, but only made 29 appearances.

Waived by both the Warriors and the Rockets prior to the late start of the 2011-12 season, Lin joined the Knicks on December 27th. He was getting limited minutes, but the Knicks’ injury-depleted roster eventually presented an opportunity for the unlikely hero to explode. In his breakout performance against the Nets, Lin sparked New York to a 99-92 win with 25 points, seven assists and five rebounds off the bench.

It soon became apparent that Lin was not just a one-hit wonder, and now the 23-year-old sophomore has people turning crimson for passing on his court savvy, poise, maturity, drive and leadership. Lin helped his team to four more wins in the first four starts of his NBA career, producing a season-best five-game winning streak for the Knicks. Gotham City’s secret weapon put on a spectacular show for the home crowd when he unloaded 38 points against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in Friday’s 92-85 win at MSG.

Mike D’Antoni’s offense happens to be a perfect fit for Lin because his system puts the ball in the hands of the point guard so much and gives Lin multiple screens and pick-and-roll situations so he can make something happen. Lin finds his open teammates and gets them involved when he has to, but he also has the ability to score.

We’ll see if America’s CzarLin’ can handle the hype and keep postseason hopes in sight for the blue and orange when New York takes on Toronto Tuesday night.

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