26 yr-old Raymond Felton is averaging 18.2 ppg, 9.1 apg, 3.9 rpg over the course of his first 29 games playing in Mike D'antoni's SSOL offensive system (which is now his 6th season in the NBA).
Felton has seen his overall numbers bump upwards, as expected, for his career norms were: 13.6, 6.6, 3.5.
Basically, almost 5 points more per game to go with another 3 assists and half a rebound.
NOT TOO SHABBY.
In late July, I predicted:
MY GUESS: 17.3 ppg, 9.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds. 1.9 steals, 2.3 turnovers. I think his stat line at the end of the year will resemble something like this.
FG% of 48.9 and 3PT% of 40.1
[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
Actually, his shooting pcts are slightly down from this (45.5 & 36.4). Although both numbers are above his career averages, they bely the fact that his shooting %s have increased each season, and thus far not so.
ANYWAY. The point here has more to do with another idea I floated in the aforementioned summer thread:
That Felton and Nash (YES, Steve Nash) have similiar career trajectories pre-Dantoni.
STEVE NASH spent 8 years in DAL. HIs 9th season was his first in PHO, playing for D'antoni.
Raymond Felton is in his 6th season, playing 5 seasons for CHA, and now running Mike D'ant's system in year #6.
As I wrote, if we compare the two PGs, and where their shooting touch was after their 5th season:
If we compare the two PGs, and check out where they were after their fifth season in the NBA. Nash finished his 5th season (48.7 FG% & 40.6 3PT%) while Felton ended his 5th season (45.9 FG% & 38.5 3PT%)
Pretty close, no? Obviously, Nash became one of the better shooters in the NBA. A clutch one at that too! BUt do we credit D'antoni a little for working with him? Will this be the case for Raymond Felton?
BOTH Nash and Felton are energizing bunnies. I would say Felton is the better defsnive player though, while Nash is light years ahead in passing.
BUT, what exactly do we have in Felton? What can he become? What will D'ant's system do for him? He's already a borderline all-star. How much further can he go?
LOOK AT CHA. 1/3 into their first season w/out Felton the team has collapsed and the coach is fired.
As Mark Jackson so aptly stated: We focus on what Felton can't do instead of highlighting what he can do, and what he brings to the team.
I THINK we've found our PG folks. Deron or Paul would be nice, but we might just develop Felton and he might become one of the better PGs in the sport.
Stars are born in the playoffs. Sure, Felton was dogged by ORL and Nelson last year, but now (in this system) Felton will be allowed to let his offense speak for itself, even if he gets burned on defense by quicker PGs.
I also wrote this (in terms of their passing skills):
Steve Nash averaged 2.1, 3.5, 5.5 & 4.9 assists per game (his first 4 seasons). In his fifth campaign, that figure rose to 7.3. It hovered in the 7-8 range UNTIL Nash arrived in PHO. Then, we see that number jump almost THREE assists per game (where he would average 10-11 a game).
Raymond Felton averaged 5.6, 7, 7.4, 6.7, 5.6 assists per game in his career so far (5 seasons).
WOW. Look at Felton now. Almost at 10. I guess Nash benefitted from Amar'e, and now Felton is feeding off the big boy as well!
Not comparing Felton to Nash, just pointing out that Nash, Duhon and now Felton all have seen their numbers increase under MD. Felton will be a 18 & 10 guy soon enough. If he can improve his shooting, and become even a mid 40s in both FGs and 3s... Look out boys.
Nash was a leader. So is Felton. Felton works hard and is a bull. Competitive and quick. Raise your hand if you're shocked?
So, what do we make of all this?
Is Felton evolving? His best basketball ahead of him? Or is he just a product of the system?