MONEYBALL AND “LINSANITY”. “Linsanity” refers to the furor created by the sensational play of Jeremy Lin as the new point guard for the New York Knicks. Lin has been remarkably good, but what is unusual is that he was almost completely unknown. This wikipedia article devotes a lot of attention to Lin’s struggles to play for any team in the NBA. Undrafted basketball players rarely play in the NBA. Lin was undrafted. Lin had received no offers of an athletic scholarship and played college basketball at Harvard, not a basketball power. He spent parts of his first professional year and this year, his second, in the D league (a minor league), was cut by two teams this year, and had played only 55 minutes in the first 23 Knick games. The Knicks were thinking of cutting him by February 10, but gave him a start on February 3.
Jason Gay writes in this Wall Street Journal article about Ed Weiland, a student of basketball statistics, who wrote on the basketball website Hoops Analyst in May 2010: “”Jeremy Lin is a good enough player to start in the NBA and possibly star.” He saw this before anybody else by relying on two statistics: Lin’s two-point field goal percentage (showing his ability to get to the rim) and “RSB40″ (rebounds, steals and blocks per 40 minutes). He was also relying on a fundamental proposition of MONEYBALL, that statistics from college performances—even the Ivy League—are relevant to performance at professional levels. Weiland’s use of the word “star” was bold, given the lack of attention Lin got, but he has already been proven right. Lin is a star.