Friday, February 10, 2012

Tale of the Tape: Victor Cruz vs. Jeremy Lin

New York is dealing with a pair of out of nowhere superstars that are taking their sport by storm. First there was Victor Cruz, the New York Giants wide receiver that helped bring the Lombardi Trophy home to New York New Jersey ("I got a ring....he got one too!"). Now, after the last three games he's played for the New York Knicks, Jeremy Lin is the craziest thing since Tebow Time.

Let's take a look at how these two surprising stars stack up against each other (yes, we are well aware there is a smaller sample size for Lin right now).

Cruz gets the slight edge for his high school, representing the great state of New.....Jerrrrrrseeey, but Lin wins when it comes to college. You have to give the nod to the Ivy Leaguer in the NBA, over the guy that had some academic issues at UMass. Similar in most of the other categories, so let's get into the more important things.

Fun things to do with their name:
Victor Cruz: Obviously everyone knows what to do here...Cruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Jeremy Lin: Endless opportunities here, and we've already seen the likes of Linsanity, #Linning, All I do is Lin, etc.
Advantage: For now, we are going Cruz. It's simple, easy to remember and can get loud. There are too many options for Lin right now, and we might be trying to hard to come up with more creative names.

First three games:
Salsa. Cruz.
Victor Cruz: In week 1, Cruz was shutout. Week 2 he had 2 catches for 17 yards. Week 3 was his breakout game in Philadelphia. Cruz had 3 catches for 110 yards and 2 TDs, including a 74 yard touchdown. The Giants went 2-1 in these three games.
Jeremy Lin: While Lin has played previously, we are going to focus on his three games this week, where he's really taken off: 25 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds. 28 points, 8 assists. 23 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds. He's also shooting 58% from the field in these games, and most importantly the Knicks have won these three games.
Advantage: Lin has been a little more consistent at the start, but as we stated, he has a lot more pro games under his belt. Cruz went on to have a record-setting season, so if we were to check back in April, we'd probably have to give the season award to Cruz...unless Linsanity goes out of control.

Victor Cruz: One word. Salsa.
Jeremy Lin: Thus far we have seen Lin bow with Carmelo Anthony after a big play (ala Cruz's teammate, Justin Tuck). On Wednesday night, Lin and teammate Landry "Lance" Fields, who attended Stanford, showed off their "nerd" handshake, where they mimicked reading a book, putting on glasses, and then wearing a pocket protector. 
Advantage: We are giving the nod to Cruz and the Salsa. While we like the bow, the handshake seemed a little too choreographed (because it was), and you need a partner to do it. Cruz's salsa was not only legit (Cruz's hip don't lie), but it also signified a touchdown for the New York Football Giants.

Contract Situation:
Victor Cruz: Currently in the second year of a three year deal, Cruz earned $450,000 this season. Next year he is set to make $490,000. For those scoring at home, Cruz's regular season stats were 1,536 yards and 9 TDs. In the postseason, 269 yards on 21 receptions and the first Giants TD of the Super Bowl. Jerry Reese, pay the man.
Linsanity taking over NYC.
Jeremy Lin: Earlier this week, the Knicks picked up Lin's contract for the rest of the season, which will pay him a pro-rated share of $800,000. With this guaranteed money, Lin might be able to get himself a new place in NYC, or at least a bed. For the last six weeks, Lin has been sleeping in his brother's living room on a couch. 
Advantage: Lin might end up making more money than Cruz this year, but it looks like Cruz has a better future both on and off the field. With that said, how crazy is it that Lin sleeps on his brother's coach! Come on, James Dolan, give the kid a hotel room or something. I saw plenty of invoices during my time with the Knicks, and room for Lin for a few weeks wouldn't make that big a difference.

Comparison to Others
Victor Cruz: Known as a slot receiver, you would have to compare Cruz to the best slot receiver in the league right now, Wes Welker. We need to give credit to Welker for basically revolutionizing the slot position (and thank him for dropping that pass in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl). I wouldn't say Cruz is as good as Welker, but I think he can get there. He's got the knack for making big plays out of nothing. If he repeats this year's output next year, Welker may have to make some room at the top of the Slot receiver rankings.
Jeremy Lin: I've seen bits and pieces of Lin's last three games, and the first person to come to mind was Steve Nash. With that said, obviously Lin has a long way to go to get to Nash status. But the way Lin handles the ball, sees the floor, gets to the rim, draws contact, etc, looks a bit like Nash. 
Advantage: Push. If you are wide receiver and get compared to Welker, or a point guard and get compared to Nash, that's pretty damn good. Like many of these areas, we'll see if Lin can keep this up the rest of the season, or if fizzles out in the next few weeks.

Victor Cruz: @TeamVic has 135,500 followers. Cruz is pretty active as a tweeter, and is good about responding and interacting with his followers. Also has an avatar picture from the Super Bowl parade day earlier this week.
Jeremy Lin: @JLin7 has 74,280 followers, many coming in the last week. Lin tweets a limited times a day, and still has his location as Bay Areaaa (his spelling, not mine).
Advantage: Cruz wins with higher numbers and more activity.

Victor Cruz: Mr. Salsa turned down the opportunity to appear on Dancing with the Stars, which he probably would have won. He also has been participating in a lot of Fashion Week events in NYC the past few days and will be presenting an award at the upcoming Grammy Awards.

Jeremy Lin: I wanted to include this tweet somewhere in this post, but didn't know where to put it. Last night, Knicks beat writer Frank Isola tweeted this from the Knicks game in Washington D.C. on Wednesday night. 
Advantage: Lin has proven that he can drive, just ask John Wall who he blew by a few times on Wednesday night.

Cruz wins the Tale of the Tape, 4-2 with one push. The sample size for Lin is small, and Cruz just helped lead the Giants to their second Super Bowl in five years, so I guess this result is expected. Regardless, we are excited for the Giants to lock up Cruz, and we are excited to see the success of Jeremy Lin continue.

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