One of my biggest fears when this New York Knicks team started to be assembled last year has really come back to haunt the Knicks and that’s the fact that the Knicks front office has continued to show a commitment to Raymond Felton as their primary point guard.
I have always made the case that you can’t win consistently with a guy like Felton having the ball in his hands as much as Felton does.
Anyone that wants to dispute that point must do better than he played well the first time he was in a Knicks uniform with Amar’e Stoudemire. I will take seven-plus years of failures as a better sample size than a three-month stint in 2010.
A lot has happened since stint during the 2010-11 season.
Most notably Felton found the buffet table and just became lazy.
While there are plenty of problems that need fixed, Felton has to be at the top of the list. The NBA is a guard’s league and you simply can’t get by with poor play from your lead guard.
In Monday’s loss to the Nets, Felton shot only 2-of-11 from the floor and committed three turnovers. More importantly the Knicks offense is not cohesive with him on the floor and he is on the floor a lot. Ball movement and shooting accuracy are non-existent, the latter being a direct result of the ball not moving as the Knicks often have to settle for poor shots.
It’s the point guards’ job to run the offense effectively and efficiently. There are high school point guards who do a better job.
And that doesn’t bring into account how poor of a defensive point guard that Felton is.
Given the fact that he is the worst defensive guard in the NBA, you would also think he would be used to getting whisteled for fouls, being that he is always out of position. Yet every time he is whistled he cries and complains to the refs. The crying has to stop also. It’s getting old.
Felton makes the Knicks lethargic at both ends of the floor and is the Knicks biggest liability at both ends of the floor.
The worst part of the equation is that the Knicks coaching staff and front office do not recognize this.
The bottom line is that Felton is simply not a good point guard and you have to have better play at the point to compete. He can run the pick-and-roll and occasionally and get to the basket, but all guards can do that and pretty much every other guard in the NBA does it at a more consistent rate.
For a nine-year pro, Felton lacks a high basketball IQ and is a detriment to his own team.
In nine years, Felton has never improved as a player, in fact he has gotten worse. It is time to realize he will never get better.
The only question to ask is one of is there a worst starting point guard on any other team in the NBA today?
That answer is no and the Knicks front office and especially head coach Mike Woodson refuse to acknowledge that fact.
You can’t win and won’t win consistently, much less in the postseason with Felton manning the point getting major minutes. He could be a decent backup on a good team that can hide his deficiencies, but he is simply not capable of much more.
In Woodson’s defense, he doesn’t have many more options.
However the Knicks were at their best last season when Pablo Prigioni was the teams’ primary ball handler and Felton was moved off the ball. Given the fact that Felton is shooting only 39 percent from the floor and 28 percent from behind the arc, I don’t think Woodson can afford to make that move.
Even worse on Felton’s behalf is that the Knicks average only 18.5 points created by assist Per 48 minutes. That ranks him 55th among NBA point guards, which means he is simply not moving the basketball. Beno Udrih‘s number is at 20.5 and Prigioni’s is at 19.9. Good point guards see that number in the high 20’s and low 30’s.
Perhaps benching Felton for Prigioni is an option but it likely won’t pay huge dividends.
Udrih has demanded a trade, but while he can’t defend better than Felton, he outplayed Felton at the offensive end while Felton was sidelined, so even he is a slightly better option in the short term.
Finally there is rookie Toure’ Murry.
Murry certainly isn’t the answer, but he can’t be any worse and he certainly is a much better defensive option.
The Knicks average only 0.17 points (second worst among starting point guards) per Felton’s half court touches. They average 0.21 points every time Murry touches the ball in half court sets,
Either way, something has to be done about Felton and the likely option, since there isn’t a trade out there that will improve the situation, is to simply sit Felton down.
By not doing so, the Knicks are showing no commitment to even wanting to win.
However at the end of the day the Knicks problems have to be addressed and Felton is the biggest one.
He either has to be moved or sat down immediately.