Throughout all of the New York Knicks problems this season, there has been one constant: poor point guard play.
Of course that means I am talking about Raymond Felton.
Felton has been a major problem for the Knicks, averaging only 10.5 points and 5.7 assists with a very poor 10.5 PER that is way below league average. In addition, he is shooting only 41 percent from the floor and a miserable 31 percent from behind the arc. Felton’s career numbers were never very good but this season he is below his career marks across the board.
Then there is his inability to guard even average guards at the defensive end of the floor. The next time that Felton makes an effort to shut down an opposing guard will be the first time he does so. Opposing guards have greater success against the Knicks than any other team in the NBA and Felton is a big reason for that.
I cringed when the Knicks brought Felton back and they are paying for that decision in a major way.
However, it’s not just me that has always been down on Felton as the rest of the league is as well.
According to SportsNet New York’s Adam Zagoria, an anonymous NBA executive whose team recently played against the Knicks said, “Felton is the worst starting point guard in the NBA. I’d take 10 college point guards and about 30 NBA backups over him.”
It’s hard to argue that statement given a look at the numbers.
Felton ranks 48th among point guards on CBS Sports’ NBA total player ratings and also ranks only 32nd among point guards in scoring and rebounding, as well as 22nd in assists and 30th in steals, per ESPN.
Oh, but there is more.
Felton owns a defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions with him on the court) of 105, according to NBA.com/Stats and his net production rating over opponents this season sits at negative 5.1, according to 82games.com.
In a guard dominated league, there is no excuse to continue to run an option as poor as Felton out there on a nightly basis.
The sad part is that Felton isn’t even the best option on his own team, yet Mike Woodson keeps giving him major minutes.
Pablo Prigioni‘s offensive rating of 107.5 is more than three points per possession better than Felton’s 104.2 mark, per NBA.com/Stats. Not only that, but Prigioni’s defensive rating of 104.3 is also better. Prigioni isn’t a star by any means, but he gives the Knicks a better chance at winning.
However, leave it to Felton, who judging by the way he cries and complains, has never committed a foul in the NBA, to shoot his mouth off at his critics.
“It is what it is. I can care less what those people say or what they think,” Felton told ESPN’s Ian Begley.
Well Mr. Felton, there’s a lot of other things you don’t care about either such as: playing defense, taking good shots, making smart decisions with the ball, doing what point guards should, making teammates better, staying in shape, and playing winning basketball.
We do know Felton cares about the buffet table, but he does very little to help an NBA team win and he is definitely a liability come the postseason.
With all of the rumors circling about Woodson and Carmelo Anthony‘s future and what the Knicks will or won’t do at the trade deadline, the Knicks will never be a contender until they successfully replace Felton at the point.
It would be nice to add a point guard at the trade deadline but that is doubtful given the Knicks lack of trade assets.
But at the end of the day this much is true- as long as the Knicks keep running Felton out there, they will be a below average NBA team.
Woodson needs to make a change and do so now.