Over the course of the summer, nyknicks.com will sit down with members of the team, coaching staff, front office and others to discuss the eagerly anticipated 2010-11 campaign.
We recently caught up with Raymond Felton to learn more about the new Knick floor general.
NYKnicks.com: What have you been up to over the summer?
Raymond Felton: Not much really. Iíve just been working out and spending time with friends and family. Thatís about it.
NYKnicks.com: Talk a little bit about the process of how you became a Knick.
Felton: You know, it was free agency. It was my first summer, and this is all a business. I feel like I made the right decision to be here and be a Knickerbocker. Itís going to be great for me and great for my career. Itís going to be great for the whole team. Iím going to come in and play hard and try to win games. Thatís what it is about.
NYKnicks.com: What did Head Coach Mike DíAntoni tell you he expects out of you this season?
Felton: Basically to push the ball up and down the court and run the team. Thatís my job. I donít think that is a hard job, but we still have to gel as one. We have some great young guys and great talent so we are going to try and make things happen.
NYKnicks.com: How do you foresee your style of play meshing with Amaríe Stoudemireís?
Felton: Oh man, Amaríe and I have been in the same class since high school, so Iíve got a great personal relationship with him just going through all the camps and AAU tournaments. So Iíve known him a long time now. Plus, that style of basketball, pushing the ball up the court, that is something that I have gotten away from ever since college. Iíve kind of just been a point guard running the team and not really getting out into a system and going and making plays, so it is going to be fun getting back to that style of basketball. Just running and pushing up court and making basketball plays.
NYKnicks.com: Are there any other differences you foresee going from Charlotte to up here?
Felton: Well, itís not really differences. Donít get me wrong, I am not going to knock anything about Charlotte. Coach (Larry) Brown and all those guys are great coaches, and Coach Brown has done a lot for me as a player. Heís helped me out tremendously. But I think this system here fits my game tremendously. Iím the type of player that loves to get the ball up and down the court and run, make plays and make things happen.
NYKnicks.com: How about some of the other players on the team here. What was it like coming in here and going against the likes of Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler?
Felton: Oh those guys were tough! Gallinari, he could shoot with the best of them. And in my opinion, Wilson is a guy who will bring it on both ends of the floor. He plays hard, heís got a nice jump shot and can get to the basket. He is very athletic. To have those guys on my wing, itís going to be exciting. It makes my job easy.
NYKnicks.com: What about the rest of the new guys?
Felton: Ronny Turiaf is a guy that you need on your team. He is a guy that doesnít complain about getting shots and his shooting, but he is going to rebound, set the screens and do all the dirty work. That is what you need. (Anthony) Randolph is a young kid that has a bright future. He is young, but has great upside. Heís very athletic. Heís long. He is 6-foot-11 and can put the ball on the floor like a guard. He can shoot it well too, so heís got some great talent. He just needs to put it all together.
NYKnicks.com: What was your impression of playing at The Garden as a visiting player?
Felton: Oh, I love The Garden! Itís my favorite place to play. I plan on playing here at least 41 games a year, so it is going to be exciting.
NYKnicks.com: Why is this such a special place to play?
Felton: Itís always been a special place. You grow up hearing about Madison Square Garden and as a kid, in my time, watching Patrick Ewing, Allan Houston, John Starks, Latrell Sprewell, Chris Childs, Charles Oakley and all those guys. I was watching them while I was coming up, and that was a time when it was very, very exciting at Madison Square Garden. And we are going to try to bring that back.
NYKnicks.com: How about yourself. Do you have any personal goals for this season?
Felton: For myself? Nah. The thing is, if the team wins, all the personal goals will take care of itself.
NYKnicks.com: Why did you choose to wear number two here?
Felton: I just went back to my college number. When I first came into the league, I went back to my high school number, which was number 20. So when I came here to a new team, it is a new beginning so I decided to change my number to number two for my college number.
NYKnicks.com: What about New York City itself?
Felton: Oh man, this really is the city that never sleeps! (laughs). I love New York though. It is going to be fun to be here. The fans here, they are very loyal fans. They hate for you to lose, but at the same they love it when you win and they love you regardless. It is going to be fun. I am glad to be a part of this opportunity.
NYKnicks.com: Have they come up to you this offseason?
Felton: A little bit. Once I signed I went to some different places, and everywhere there are Knicks fans and New York people telling me they are happy I am here and letís make this thing happen and get to the playoffs. But it is going to take time. Obviously, thatís our goal this year Ė to make the playoffs. But as long as we continue to get better each and every game, each and every year, all this stuff is going to take care of itself.
NYKnicks.com: Itís opening night. You put on that Knicks jersey in front of all those fans and a packed Garden. How does the sound of that feel?
Felton: Oh, thatís going to be exciting, man! Thatís going to be a dream come true!
NYKnicks.com: And finally, if you want to tell the fans one thing, what do you want to tell them?
Felton: I want to tell the fans to look forward to a great year. We are going to play hard each and every night no matter what. There is not going to be any nights where we are not going to give it our all. Regardless, win or loss, we are going to play better and play hard. We are going to win games. Iím looking forward to it.
Live up to those words, Ray, and you're an instant favourite. I'm particularly happy about his comment on Chandler's jumper.
Felton, Chandler, Stat & AR on the break and firing on all cylinders is a threat to the league.