Jeremy Lin's Triumphant Return Doesn't Change Fact Knicks Are Better Without Him

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IDecember 18, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 17:  Pablo Prigioni #9 of the New York Knicks tries to get around Jeremy Lin #7 of the Houston Rockets on December 17, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Houston Rockets defeated the New York Knicks 109-96. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Knicks are a far more complete and cohesive team without Jeremy Lin. This is not meant to be a knock on Lin; it is just a matter of how styles of play fit together. 

So, while Lin made his return to the city where he became an international superstar last year and led his Houston Rockets to win, the Knicks should still be content in their decision to allow Lin to get away. 

To succeed, Lin needs the ball in his hands. He is great off the dribble and can penetrate on almost any defense, which leads to easy buckets.

Lin also draws a ton of fouls.

While this is an insanely valuable skill in the NBA, it is not what the Knicks need. There is only one person on the Knicks who needs to dominate the ball, and that is Carmelo Anthony

Anthony, who missed Lin's return due to an ankle injury, is enjoying an MVP-caliber season, and he is easily the biggest reason why the Knicks are 18-6 this season. He is averaging 27.9 points per game and doing so while shooting 47.3 percent from the field. 

A big part of the reason for Anthony's stellar play is that this group of Knicks is more a team than a collection of mismatched talent. 

Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd are taking care of the point guard duties once handled by Lin. Both guys are competent outside shooters. Lin has a nice mid-range game, but he is a career 30.8-percent shooter from distance.

The added three-point touch helps the Knicks space the floor and gives Anthony more room to work. 

Both Felton and Kidd are also content to look to pass first. They aren't endlessly hunting for a crack in the defense to penetrate, and while Lin is excellent at that, his driving has led to numerous turnovers. 

That is something the Knicks don't have to risk now.

Kidd and Felton combine to average 3.4 turnovers per game. Last season, Lin averaged 3.6 turnovers in 26.9 minutes per game. 

Jeremy Lin will go on to have a nice career, and there will undoubtedly be more moments like Monday night when Knicks fans will miss Linsanity, but this team is far more formidable without him.