For the past three months, much has been made about the fact that the New York Knicks allowed point guard Jeremy Lin to walk and replaced him with Raymond Felton.
A lot has also been made about the fact that Felton excelled in his first go-around in a Knicks uniform.
But while it may be doubtful that Felton averages the 17 points and nine assists that he did before being dealt to Denver in the Carmelo Anthony trade, he has to be good for the Knicks to win and has to know what to do with the basketball.
Through five preseason games, I like what I have seen from Felton’s return to the Big Apple.
He is one of the few Knicks to have played in all five games and has averaged 24.6 minutes per contest, dropping in 10.6 points and six assists.
But ignore the numbers, they really aren’t that good in terms of scoring and shooting, but I don’t give much credence to preseason numbers anyway.
However there’s a lot to like about Felton’s game and a little bit not to like so much thus far in the preseason.
What I love is the way Felton hasn’t been messing around in the first half of games. He’s put on the accelerator up the court, helping the Knicks control the tempo. And he has worked the pick-and-roll well with the team’s bigs.
Things slowed down in the second half of games, mostly due to Mike Woodson giving a lot of second teamers a look and Felton only getting meaningful second half minutes in two games, but his impact at the start of games will be key for the Knicks to avoid getting too comfortable and stagnant on offense.
The one thing that concerns me though about Felton’s preseason is his shooting, and that comes after a fantastic 23 point game against the Sixers in which Felton made 8-of-17 shots, including 5-of-7 three-point attempts.
But despite his great performance Monday night, Felton hasn’t shot the ball well, shooting only 38 percent from the floor and 35 percent from behind the arc.
But if you take the Philadelphia game out of the equation, Felton has made only 11-of-33 (33 percent) shots from the floor and knocked down only 1-of-10 attempts from behind the arc in his other four games.
In addition, the Knicks have become far too stagnant at times and have relied on isolation and become way too dependent on the three-point shot, something that the point guard can’t allow to happen. This Knicks team just doesn’t shoot the ball well enough.
But considering that Felton hasn’t played with the players he will likely play with during the regular season, due to a rash of injuries, for the most part I have liked what I’ve seen from the former North Carolina Tar Heel.
His conditioning is not an issue as he looks good pushing the ball and the Knicks are a better team when they do exactly that.
But judging by the way the Knicks chuck up perimeter shots on an alarming basis, Felton is going to have to shoot the ball better.
Hopefully, the Sixers game is something he can build off of, but either way, it looks like the Knicks have their point guard for the season.
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