The New York Knicks are not playing up to their talent level right now. Sitting at 7-17 coming off a demoralizing defeat at the buzzer to the Washington Wizards, many fans are questioning what to do with this team in order to get things going again. With the NBA’s point guards better then ever, is Raymond Felton the right player to start at the position for the Knicks?
Felton has been battling with injuries this whole season. A nagging hamstring injury and a back injury have kept him out a few games, and now it seems he will be out for another 2-3 weeks, and even in the games he has played it is not too hard to tell that he is not at 100 percent. When he is 100 percent though, he can be one of the streakiest players in the game. When he is at his best, he can drain all of his shots, drive to get layups, throw perfect passes to get guys open, and toss up an amazing alley-oop. But when he is struggling, he will force shots, have a strange pass and shot selection often resulting in bad ones, as well as play horrible defense.
Based on defensive efficiency ratings, Raymond Felton is the WORST defensive point guard in the game out of all thirty starters. Dead last. His stats emulate this as he has not been able to get anything going with averages of 10.3 ppg (39% shooting from the field, 27% from behind the arc), 5.2 apg, and 2.4 rpg.
That is unacceptable, with so many good point guards in the league. Guys like Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, and Deron Williams can score easily against him. Even Jeff Teague made Felton look like he wasn’t deserving of being in the NBA. With the rapid growth of high quality point guards in the NBA, his lack of defense could cause major problems. His streakiness is also a concern.
With a top notch scorer such as Carmelo Anthony on your team, an elite point guard would completely elevate his game. Felton is a good point guard, but for Melo to get even better, matching him with a high talent point guard would complement his game.
For now, Felton is the right choice. Mainly because he is the only choice. With the Knicks well over the cap, they have no room to make a blockbuster trade for an elite point guard. And while rumors have been circulating about Kyle Lowry coming to the Big Apple in exchange for the injured Felton, Metta World Peace, and the Knicks 2018 first rounder, a potential deal of the sort was shot down by tyrant owner, James Dolan.