Whenever a team is a contender, it’s a combination of a lot of pieces that makes the team great. There are the stars and the role players. There are the coach and the assistants. There are the benchwarmers and the “energy” guys.
This is the case with the New York Knicks, but some people don’t always get the credit that they deserve. People tend to heap a lot of the praise on Carmelo Anthony and his lethal scoring ability. There’s J.R. Smith’s wild personality and even wilder athleticism. Tyson Chandler is known as the defensive anchor on the team, securing the paint with his ability to guard the pick and roll. There’s even Iman Shumpert, the team’s budding star who has captured the imaginations of the fans with his obvious potential, causing all of us to look ahead to the future to see what it holds for that young man.
Then there’s the part that nobody seems to talk about. No, I’m not talking about Chris Copeland, he got a ton of attention during the playoffs when he finally got released from Mike Woodson’s doghouse. I’m actually not talking about Earl Barron either, who contributed…well he actually contributed nothing to the team. I’m talking about the point guard, Raymond Felton.
Felton gets overlooked a lot of the time because he isn’t a flashy point guard, and he rarely puts on Stephen Curry-esque shooting clinics. Game in and game out, Felton just gets the job done. I consider him to be the key piece in the team’s success because of his ability to get into the lane and open up the floor for shooters.
When he is on top of his game, he easily gets to the hole. Whether it be that floater that he pulls out of nowhere, his pull-up jumper, or layups, Felton has a knack for getting into the paint. He also is willing to go there. Sometimes, Melo decides to rely solely on his shooting, and that’s fine. Felton on the other hand, realizes that he has a much better chance of scoring if he lowers his shoulder and drives to the basket. That creates a ton of space for guys like Copeland, Smith, Anthony, and
Jason Kidd Iman Shumpert to shoot threes. That is obviously central to the success of the Knicks; when they get a lot of open looks, they usually knock them down.
The reason why I say that Felton is the key is that we all know what to expect from most other players on the team. Melo will get his points in various ways. Prigioni will create shots for everyone (except for himself of course).
Chandler’s offensive game is catalyzed by Felton. Obviously Chandler is known as a defensive player, and has the offensive skill of a drugged up Amar’e Stoudemire, but he can put it in the hole thanks to Felton’s ability to initiate the pick and roll and throw lobs near the rim for Chandler to catch and stuff.
Raymond Felton is the X-Factor on this team the way it is currently constructed. If he plays at a very high level (which he does occasionally), the Knicks have a real shot to truly contend in the East. Even if he’s not actually at the caliber of a star point guard, he does a lot for this team. It’s time for him to get a little bit more credit.
Also, he was better last year than that Lin guy.
Remember that Lin guy?
Yeah, neither do the Rockets. Beverleysanity.
As a side note, I just realized that Lin’s ineffectiveness caused the Rockets to use Beverley more often, and he injured Russell Westbrook. So basically, Jeremy Lin cost the Thunder their chance at winning the West. Send your mail to Landry Fields’s couch, Thunder fans.
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