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What Happened to Linsanity?

Jeremy Lin and the Knicks have lost six straight games since winning nine of twelve. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

A short time ago in a galaxy far, far away I was a business and economics student (not a very good one, but that’s neither here nor there).  There is a theory in business and marketing that every product has a ‘life-cycle.’  The four main stages of a product’s life cycle are the introduction stage, growth stage, maturity stage, and decline stage.

That brings me to Jeremy Lin.  I know the sports and social media cycle moves fast, but a month ago ‘Linsanity’ was sweeping the nation.  Lin emerged from obscurity to the Knicks starting lineup, and the team responded.  The Knicks won in 9 of his first 12 starts.

The underlying question in the introduction stage of ‘Linsanity’ was how would the team do when superstars Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony return to the lineup?  I theorized the three would be able to co-exist because the team needed a selfless, humble point guard who could get the most out of Amare and Melo.

Amare and Melo are gifted offensive players but not always regarded as the best teammates, especially Melo.  Melo can score an effortless 30, but doesn’t necessarily help his team win.  His effort level and engagement are constantly questioned.

When discussing the athlete ‘life cycle’ winning is a big part of the equation.  ‘Tebowmania’ died down significantly when Denver lost their final three games of the regular season.  Some of the fervor reignited after the Pittsburgh game, but he was exposed again in the New England game.

The Knicks six game losing streak is obviously a big reason the ‘Linsanity’ product cycle is already on the decline.  Delving deeper, the question is why are the Knicks struggling?

Is it possible Lin and the Knicks took advantage of a soft portion of their schedule?  Five of Lin’s first eight wins came against teams with losing records.  In New York’s current six game losing streak, five of the six teams have winning records.

Are teams figuring out Lin?  Professional coaches are paid a lot of money because they know the game.  Even terrible coaches have forgotten more about basketball than any fan will ever know.  Now that there is more video of Lin available, opponents are better able to scout him and expose his weaknesses.

Did Melo ruin the chemistry?  When the Knicks were winning, Lin was taking a lot of shots, but there was also a lot more ball movement.  The Mike D’Antoni offense is predicated on ball movement and the open guy taking a shot.  Melo is an isolation player, or a ball stopper.  When he gets the ball on the wing he usually holds onto it until he is ready to pull the trigger.

I honestly don’t know why the Knicks have struggled since Amare and Melo returned to the lineup.  I feel it’s a combination of the three factors I mentioned above.

Jeremy Lin is a great story, and I hope ‘Linsanity’ has not reached its decline stage already!

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