New York Knicks – Raymond Felton Lays The Jeremy Lin Debate To Rest

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Get your black suits and sunglasses out. No, New York isn’t attending another series ending funeral, but instead celebrating another feather in the cap for Knicks management, as we lay to rest the Raymond Felton vs. Jeremy Lin debate.

As Knicks fans, we have the fondest memories of Linsanity. We remember how badly the Knicks needed something like that to happen in order to rejuvenate their season.  We remember outdueling Kobe Bryant and the Lakers at The Garden on a national stage. We remember using his name in place of everything even close to resembling Lin.  We remember the couch he slept on throughout most of the season and the secret handshake with Landry Fields. We remember the game-winners and the randomness of it all, but in the end, the poison pill contract he signed got the best of Jeremy Lin.

Most NBA fans spent their summer debating whether the Knicks made the right decision in trading for Felton rather than retaining Lin. Ideally, both would be suiting up in blue and orange, but an obnoxious luxury tax made it too unreasonable to happen. So the Knicks carried on with their win now philosophy, sporting a seven-year veteran at point guard instead of grooming the future for someone with 25 starts under their belt.

Upon arrival, it was assumed that Felton would do wonders for Amar’e Stoudemire’s game. After all, Felton played the best basketball of his career while hooking up with STAT during the 2010-11 season, averaging 17.1 points and 9.0 rebounds in 54 games with the Knicks. He came into camp in much better shape than he showed to be in the season prior and while Lin was was stuggling to adapt to his new surroundings in Houston, New York was off to a scorching hot start.

What no one saw coming was how compatible Felton was with Carmelo Anthony’s ball dominant game. In the small sample of games that both Lin and Anthony played together in, the point guard wound up as the focal point of the offense. It forced Melo to be efficient with his touches, something that a volume shooter rightfully struggles to adjust to. The scoring ability of Felton brought forth the two point guard set, producing the free-flowing offense that averaged the Knicks 100.0 points per game.

For one small  stretch this year, the Knicks might have regretted the Lin-Felton swap, but that was only when Ray had surgery on a broken finger. Over that 15 game period, New York was a mediocre 8-7. The offense was stagnant, and in retrospect, they played their worst ball of the season outside of that despicable West Coast trip.

Although he struggled with the consistency to get back to his early season level in most games for the remainder of the year, Felton has more than proven his worth during the postseason. While Lin was sidelined for two of his team’s six playoff games because of a chest contusion, the veteran has been filling the scoring void for the seemingly absent J.R. Smith. In eight postseason games, Ray is averaging 16.9 points (enough to be his regular season career high) in almost 39 minutes per game. With Smith ice cold and Jason Kidd even colder, Felton has continued to show the gusto and bravado needed to succeed in embracing the moment. Indiana’s depth at guard is nonexistent and we should see more of the same from Felton this series as the Knicks look to exploit that matchup.

Felton has continued to step up and impress all year long, and has erased the yearning for Jeremy Lin in this city, something that speaks for itself. In outdoing Lin throughout most of the season, Felton has also helped New York Knicks management prove their worth just the same.

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One thought on “New York Knicks – Raymond Felton Lays The Jeremy Lin Debate To Rest

  1. I don’t think this is as simple as you make it out to be. Felton has been very good for the NYK, and when you consider the cost difference, it’s not an argument for this season. However, I look at this much differently.

    First, most of us fans aren’t billionaires. So, why we worry about how much luxury tax Jim Dolan is going to have to pay is beyond me. The NYK make plenty..no they make an absurd amount of money.

    Second, go to NBA.COM or Wikidpedia and look up the last 15 NBA drafts. 90% of the impact players, are top 10 picks. More than 80% of 2nd round picks don’t make the team that picks them. The NBA is a salary cap sport, so no matter how much you have, you can’t simply outspend. So, if you’re not fortunate enough to be terrible in the right year and get a LBJ, Wade, Duncan et al, you’re not going to compete. Counting on finding an unhidden gem, in round 2, doesn’t happen with any regularity. So, finding a guy who dominated NBA competition for a month, is akin to hitting the Mega Millions. You don’t just let that guy walk away.

    That brings me to my third point, Glen Grunwald, and Donnie Walsh before him, aren’t great talent evaluators-or at least they haven’t shown themselves to be. Shumpert has been solid and shows promise, but they’ve had top 10 picks and not drafted a star(and don’t give me Danilo Gallinari), and the combination missed opportunities on guys like Ty Lawson, Jrue Holliday, Brook Lopez and Eric Gordon), and while Tyson Chandler has been a solid signing, bringing in Sheed and worse Camby and Kidd on 2 and 3yr deals has left them with little ability to make the roster better. Now, had they kept Lin, there is a trading chip and that’s my big issue here. They could have kept him for a year, or 2, and moved him before the ‘poison pill’.

    I pray I’m wrong, and the NYK look solid this year, but when I look at this team I see:
    Carmelo-who will probably be this good for at least 3 more years.
    Stat-hopefully a good 6th man, but unreliable (health) at this point.
    Felton-this is the best he’s ever played, so how much upside is left?
    Chandler-is health becoming an issue?Can we expect more than he’s given these past 2 seasons?
    Shumpert-need him to become their 2nd scorer, can he do it?
    JR Smith-Can’t pay him what market is likely to show him, so will he stay for less?
    Kidd, Camby, Novak, Copeland-Kidd has been solid, but he’s obviously slowing down. Camby has been an awful signing. Copeland and Novak are close to being the same guy.
    The team lacks rebounding and interior defense. Now they have Henry Sims, in the D League, and he might be a player, but he’s a D League guy.

    Long winded..apologies, but looking at NY, they have little to offer in a trade and Stat’s contract is going to kill them for another 2 yrs. When it ends, ‘Melo will likely be slowing a bit. I’m not saying Jeremy Lin would have been a star here. I do think he would have either contributed directly, or possibly brought them another piece via trade.

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