The Felton Pattern

Good Morning Knick Boys and Knick Girls,

Felton’s been playing very poorly for a while now. He’s going to sit out tonight (against Phoenix) and rest his bruised flippers. Many of us our hoping that his struggles are due to his aching hands, and that some rest will return him to his old November self. I'm not so sure...

Guys, Felton's career has shown a definite pattern... a troubling pattern. The pattern is simple: He starts off the year hot and gets the fanbase excited. Then he falls off and usually becomes the scapegoat (many times deservedly) for his teams unsuccessful season.

Think I'm exaggerating... check out the troubling amount of examples:

1. This Current Season:

Ray starts out awesomely showing incredible chemistry with Chandler, orchestrates brilliant ball movement, and almost completely eliminates turnovers (and shot really well as an added bonus).

Now in December... well... just go read the last 4 or 5 game threads... wait here, I'll summarize them for you:




And yep, as much as I like the Penguin, he's probably the main reason (not the only one though) why we've been struggling lately.

2. Last year in Portland:

This one is going to blow your mind.

I know when people think of Felton's tenure in Portland, a few words come to mind:


Believe it or not (Portland fans certainly won't remember because of blinding hatred), Raymond actually got off to a hot start in Portland too.

Because I realize how incredulous this one is, I googled several game recaps during the 1st month of his Portland season. Here are just a couple articles lauding his pg play as a Blazer:

You can probably find similar articles from that same time period if you're bored enough.Anyway, we all know how that season turned out. Although there were plenty of other issues in Portland, Raymond became the face of their suckitude that year. Moving on...

3. 2010-2011 NY Knicks and Denver Nuggets

GASP, you mean we've seen this movie before???

Yes, Knicks fans, surely you remember this situation the first time it happened, don't you?

Raymond Felton played at a high level showing awesome chemistry with Amare and was a big part of the franchise's renaissance... for about a month and half. Then he started suck. He played so bad that he actually started play like... well the way he's playing now. Creepy huh?

We didn't debate about his struggles so much because at the time we were consumed with the Carmelo trade drama, and so Felton's increasing suckiness flew under the radar.

He was traded to Denver and promptly lost his minutes to Ty Lawson who was steadily improving as Ray was steadily declining.

4. The Bobcats

I don't know much about Ray's first few seasons in the league because back then I was like "What's a Bobcat?"

But if you remember, the Bobcats actually got kind of good during Felton's last year there and made the playoffs. I started paying attention to them during the second half of that season, and guess what... I got to see Ray steadily decline.

The Bobcats made the playoffs and were quickly swept by the Magic. The main reason why... Felton played like dogshit. He was repeatedly abused by Jameer Nelson on defense (I know Jameer used to be a little bit good, but trust me, he was never really that good), and was continually suffocated by Jameer Nelson on offense. His play was embarrassing, and he drew the ire of Bobcats fans (all 18 of them).

So, why is this freaky thing happening?

Theory 1: Health

Guys, I don't buy this one. I don't think it's Raymond's health.

Let's face it, in the NBA, after 20 games into the season everybody is banged up. Nobody is 100% except for maybe after the All-Star break. If Ray needs to be 100% to play well, then he's never going to play well, especially in the playoffs.

Also, most of recent struggles don't have much to do with bruised hands:

  • Shooting - yes, that does have to do with bruised hands. I expect that to improve with some rest.
  • Ball Movement - the Knicks ball movement has gotten stagnant. Ray is supposed to orchestrate it, but he's not. Melo and JR have bailed us out recently by creating their own shots, but for the most part nobody is moving and neither is the ball. Raymond's bruised hands have nothing to do with this. He needs to be a leader, and tell guys where to be and what to do.
  • Turnovers - you don't need healthy hands to make a good decision. Ray's been making some stupid passes lately and dribbling into situations that he shouldn't.
  • Defense - this one is the most troubling. Every good player knows that you don't play defense with your hands, you play defense with your feet. Raymond has stopped playing defense. I don't know why, but it ain't because his hands hurt. He's getting abused on a nightly basis and repeatedly making Tyson move out of position to help.

Theory 2: Scouting Reports
Maybe Felton plays well at the beginning of each year, but then opposing teams scout him and figure out how to stop him.
Please! Raymond's had the same game since he was with the Bobcats. There's nothing new. Besides, I don't see teams doing anything special to mess with Ray. How are you gonna force a guy into playing bad defense. It doesn't make any sense.

Theory 3: Motivational and Laziness issues
I like Felton, I really do, but I think this is at the heart of his issues.
I think he gets really pumped up at the beginning of the year (especially when he's on a new team), but then after awhile he gets lazy. He starts taking short cuts. He stops doing the little things. He doesn't keep himself in the best shape. He doesn't go the extra mile and do everything he can to make his teammates better.

It's like a guy who gets a brand new job, and they're excited and show up early and well-dressed and want to help everybody with everything. Then the novelty wears off, they start showing a few minutes late, taking shortcuts, fudging their work, passing the buck to the next man, and rolling their eyes at their boss.
Why else would every season have this same pattern?

I'm sorry, but I don't think Felton can be a pg for a championship team. Almost every other team in the NBA has a starting pg who will abuse Felton if we face them in a 7 game series. He's going to be the reason why we lose.
I like him, and he can stick around as an excellent backup (especially since Kidd and Prigs are close to retirement), but we need to start looking for a more consistent player to be our general.
Sorry Penguin :(

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