HERE's THE ENTIRE POST I WROTE:
The first thing I think of when I consider if someone is capable of running D'ant's SSOL is STAMINA. Not only does the PG need to be lightning quick, F-A-S-T as fast can be, but he also must be a tireless energizer bunny!
The PG needs to be quick, he needs to be in constant motion, durable and he needs to be super athletic.
CHECK: I think we can say Felton qualifies here. Steve Nash averaged about 35 minutes a game while playing with D'ant. As it happens, Felton (in his short career) averages 35 minutes a game.
Felton is not as tall as Nash, but he's certainly bigger and stronger. Much more compact. He's probably faster too (end-to-end), although he might not be as fluid (or as quick off the cut - or with his first step).
The next attribute that immediately jumps out at you is SHOOTING PCT. NOt just the 3-pointer (which is definitely necessary) but his mid-range game altogether.
In the first EIGHT seasons of Steve Nash's career, in DAL, he basically shot about 47% from the field & 42% from 3PT.
In his 9th year, when he finally got to play in the SSOL system of D'ant, his FG pct shot up to 50% and his 3PT efficiency improved to 43, then 45, then 47 percent (and has since dropped to 43, then 42, since MD left PHO).
Now let's take a look at Mr. Raymond Felton. He has FIVE years under his belt. His FG pct goes like this: 39, 38, 41, 40, 45. HIs 3PT%: 35, 33, 28, 28, 38.
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%)
What does all this mean?
At first guess, we all agree that Felton falls way short in the outside shooting department, when compared to the Steve Nash of 2004-present. But upon further inspection, it appears that Raymond Felton, right now, sort of mirrors where Nash was after his 5th season. Nash was slightly better, for sure, but the gap is not as wide as one might expect, right?
ALSO, Felton's FG% has steadily improved each year in the Association (from 39 to 45 perent), and last year we saw his 3PT% shoot up TEN percent (from 28 to 38).
All we have to do is look at David Lee. LIKE NASH, both players saw their shooting pct improve under D'ant and his SSOL system. WHY? The obvious says b/c this is a point of emphasis in practice. Felton is a hard worker. He'll continue to improve his shooting.
However, along with practice, maybe some of the spike in FG efficiency is b/c of the system, and the spacing-freedom it provides. Maybe with a little better shot selection we can honestly expect to see Felton approach the 50% barrier under D'ant. Maybe not in year-1.... but certainly soon! The same should apply to the 3PT shooting. Felton may not reach the 47 range, but he could get his game into the low 40s. Sure.
CHECK: Felton has improved his midrange game and will continue to do so. He wont be 2007 Steve Nash but he could be the 2002 version. In his best year under MD, Nash averaged 18.9 ppg. I bet this season Felton comes close to that number. Felton may never be the clutch shooter that Nash is. I wont even insult Nash by claiming this is something Felton possesses. But, we wont know until we see it (or not). BUT, Nash was in his 9th season when he arrived in the SSOL system. Felton has a 2-year head start.
The third and final thing I believe is necessary for a PG to orchestrate the SSOL symphony is VISION / DECISION-MAKING.
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).
CHECK: Again, I won't disrespect Nash, and think Felton is on the level with Steve in terms of decision-making and passing, but I haven't watched Felton enough in CHA to gauge that. I do recall when he played at UNC, and I know that Larry Brown is legendary when it comes to imprinting pass-1st mentality into his PG. I also know Felton is a beast and super quick. He looked like Nash in the open floor when he played against us, that's for sure! Lol.
So why can't I expect a jump of.... OH, say... 2 assists per game under MD? The system, and spacing, and freedom, certainly allows for it. I know alot depends on the shooters he's passing the ball to. I don't expect him to work the half court like Nash. NOt even close. But I think in the open floor he'll be special. I think the talent is there, but it depends on decision-making. No way to predict. Wait and see.
BUT, I do think Felton will average 9 assists a game. Even Chris Duhon jumped his career assist average by 3 under D'ant (from 4 to 7). I notice a trend her for SSOL MD PGs.
IN CONCLUSION, I think Felton has the athletic ability, the durability, the quickness, the midrange game, the 3PT shooting potential, the passing and the decision-making.... all the attributes we need in a PG to run the SSOL system. I think Felton has the experience (5 years) and I think he's matured, in his prime, and I expect that his best basketball lies ahead of him.
I think we should expect something closer to Steve Nash than we should fear a Chris Duhon redux.
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
<!-- / message --><!-- edit note --><HR style="COLOR: #ffffff" SIZE=1>Last edited by mafra : Jul 29, 2010 at 08:58.