Jan 27, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson talks with point guard Raymond Felton (2) during the third quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden. Knicks won 106-104. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Woodson: ‘Can’t Just Blame the Point Guards’


The New York Knicks are the worst type of bad team in the NBA. They’re good enough to beat the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat in the same month, or piece together a four-game winning streak by thoroughly stomping lesser opponents. They’re also the team to then go into Milwaukee and lose to the Bucks, the worst team in the league, through failed late execution.

After the loss to the Bucks, a lot of people wanted to blame Raymond Felton. And why not? Felton’s having the worst season of his very average career. Against the Bucks, he was 1-7 for 3 points while allowing Brandon Knight to go for 25 points and 7 assists, scoring the last five points for the Bucks down the stretch. Knight beat Felton back door for an easy layup, and then after Carmelo Anthony tied the game with a three-pointer, Knight pulled up in Felton’s face and buried his own three with under two seconds remaining.

Mike Woodson, however, stood up for Felton yesterday. Via the New York Daily News:

“I’m not pointing the fingers at anybody,” Woodson said, reviewing the worst loss of the season. “You just can’t blame it on the point guards.”

Mike Woodson isn’t totally wrong; basketball is, after all, a team sport, and Tyson Chandler was somewhat lackadaisical in his defensive rotations and help, and few Knicks outside of Anthony and J.R. Smith contributed much to the offense.

But Felton has been an issue all season long. He wasn’t in proper shape coming into the season, he’s been nagged by injuries that haven’t been dealt with properly, and his play has been inconsistent. Felton is having his worst season scoring the ball, averaging a career-low 10 points per game while shooting only 40%, less than his career average. He also is only averaging 5.7 assists per game, his lowest next to last season’s 5.5; however, last season, the Knicks’ ball movement didn’t necessarily reflect assists that highly.

To be fair, there aren’t a lot of options for Woodson to turn to. Beno Udrih is even more of a sieve defensively, and though he’s a better shooter, doesn’t run the pick-and-roll as well as Felton. Pablo Prigioni is the Knicks’ best floor general, but he is perimeter bound and often too shy to shoot or command attention in the pick-and-roll. He’s also 36 years old…. And Toure’ Murry, while promising, has too many flaws in his young game to be the Knicks’ full-time starter.

Simply, the Knicks have to command more out of Felton, or they need to seriously look at finding a better point guard. The trade deadline is two weeks away, and since the Knicks don’t seem to be considering moving Anthony or Chandler, they should seek out deals to find a replacement point guard.

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