Stat And Melo!!!
And yes, I know ROUND () IS a shape!!
But during his interview yesterday, he looked great. Said he's really looking forward to shutting everyone's mouth!!
[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]"I am hearing from everybody, 'He wasn't in shape last year.' I played in the league seven years, about to be eight, came in out of shape one year and that's all everybody wants to talk about. … I look forward to this year and shutting up everybody's mouth."
Felton says there is "nothing personal between me and Jeremy" but says "I am a competitor. I am a point guard just like he is, so do I think I am better? Of course, I am going to say that. I think I am better than any point guard. That's the way I am supposed to think."
Felton and Melo better drop the poundage, Amare needs to lose some weight too.
I have never been a Raymond Felton fan, but I will admit that my reaction is more visceral than rational. I am relieved that he appears in better shape than advertised and that is promising.
What bothered me about his game when he was with the Knicks was my perception that he was not nearly as good as he thought he was. For a mediocre shooter, he took too many shots. He never passed if he had the ball with 20 seconds before the close of a quarter. He had some nice pick and rolls with Amare' but he too often ignored the players D'Antoni had stationed at the wings. But having Melo on the floor will certainly reduce his hubris and his crunch time dominance of the ball.
I am becoming hopeful -- but he has been around for some time now. No other team seemed to have him on its radar.
I liked Lin and anticipated his return. However, I thought he spent too much time with the ball, though he moved around with it, and I knew he would have to change his game to accomodate Melo's offensive abilities. I never minded Melo taking the shots, but I do not like his ISO game. I expected that this year we would have more movement with Melo rather than four observers watching Melo make one on one or one on two or three plays. I expected changes to both of their games and anticipated they would be made.
I expect Lin to produce big numbers in Houston. It is a young -- and mediocre -- team. Lin will be able to dominate all ball movement. Since the team is mediocre, the defense will be less intense. Statistically, at least, I do not expect Felton to be close to Lin. But that is OK because Lin would not put up the numbers in New York that he is likely to put up in Houston
Amare has also been working his guts out and will meet with Olajuwon for a fortnight in Houston from August 5-19 to work on his post moves/defense. He was also looking slim in the interview and has been working hard to strengthen his lower back & core.
He's also said that he believed this Knicks team is Finals material:
[Only registered and activated users can see links. ](This team) is good enough for the Finals. This is a contending team without a doubt,” Felton said. “That's the way I am supposed to feel, I think a lot of people should feel the same way. The thing I am excited about is I have so many options: ’Melo at one end, J.R. Smith on the other, Amar’e (Stoudemire) on the screen-and-roll or on the elbow, Tyson (Chandler) at the rim. There are so many things you can work with.
I don't see why he should not believe in this team. Best Knicks team in more than a decade. I believe he can match -if not surpass- Lin's performances. All he needs to do is replicate what he did in the first half of the 2010-11 season.
I see Felton putting up 12 and 7. And that's all I need.
I think the chemistry that Felton had with Amar'e is gonna help STAT get to the hole more with the PnR. If Felton can help STAT get to average 24 points a game, we can have a juggernaut offense.
I want to see Felton being a general on the floor, getting the team into the flow of the offense & creating easy baskets for his teammates. This is something that Lin was still learning how to do, though he did show flashes at times. Still, he was easily flustered by trapping style defense & forced into bad turnovers. I feel that Felton will be better able to deal with ball pressure defense from teams like the Miami Heat & the Boston Celtics, & will be a better passer out of the PnR with STAT. I don't think Felton will ever be the scorer that Jeremy Lin was during Linsanity, & I don't WANT him to be. I want him to be a leader on the basketball court. That is will be most valuable for this team, not the whole Linsanity crazyness, which while it was extremely exciting to witness, was never going to last & never going to be the way to combat teams like the Heat & the Celtics. Good sound fundamental style basketball will give us our best chance of beating those teams. Afterall, shouldn't the main goal be to win a championship?
Most important for Felton is his 3pt accuracy. Melo will always handle the ball majority, we're stuck in Melo ball. I don't think Felton is going to get a chance to be the "general". So him getting open for 3pt shots and hitting them is big for us.