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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Knicks 2011 Season Preview – Point Guards

With the Knicks 2011 season almost upon us, it’s time to analyze the roster. Usually teams have some stability from one year to the next, but New York has only a third of the players returning. How New York is going to perform is more of a mystery than previous years. This year’s I’ll look at each position and attempt to address the critical question for those players.

Point Guards: Is this really an upgrade?

Last year if you had to find a single scapegoat for the Knicks abysmal record, you might want to place some horns on Chris Duhon. He played the 5th most minutes on the team, while providing virtually no offense (8.6 pts/36). His scoring was so futile that he would often drive into the paint and be left alone, only to kick the ball out in lieu of an easy layup. Defenses were able to play off of Duhon and concentrate on his teammates, disrupting the offense.

So this season New York decided to invest $7M on a new point guard: Raymond Felton. Based on last year’s stats it seems that Felton is an upgrade to Duhon. He had a better true shooting percentage (TS%: 52.5% to 50.1%) and three point percentage (3P%: 38.5% to 34.9%) while scoring nearly five more points per 36 minutes (pts/36: 13.2 to 8.6). Additionally he was a better ball hawk (stl/36: 1.7 to 1.0) and rebounder (reb/36: 3.9 to 3.1). However a look at his career stats show Duhon’s superior in regards to true shooting percentage (52.4% to 49.3%) and from downtown (36.2% to 32.7%). It’s painful for me to write this, but over the course of their careers Duhon had been a more efficient scorer than Felton.

CAREER MP FGA 3PA 3P% FTA FT% ORB TRB AST STL TOV PTS PER TS% eFG%
Douglas 1087 12.9 5.8 38.9% 2.3 0.809 1.3 3.6 3.7 1.4 1.8 15.9 14.9 57.1% 54.5%
Duhon 12706 8.5 4.3 36.2% 2 0.797 0.5 3.2 6.5 1.1 2.1 9.8 11.5 52.4% 48.5%
Felton 13939 12.5 3 32.7% 3.2 0.782 0.7 3.5 6.6 1.5 2.6 13.7 14.1 49.3% 44.8%
2010 MP FGA 3PA 3P% FTA FT% ORB TRB AST STL TOV PTS PER TS% eFG%
Douglas 1087 12.9 5.8 38.9% 2.3 0.809 1.3 3.6 3.7 1.4 1.8 15.9 14.9 57.1% 54.5%
Duhon 2072 7.8 4.5 34.9% 1.7 0.716 0.5 3.1 6.6 1 1.9 8.6 10.7 50.1% 47.2%
Felton 2643 11.5 2.1 38.5% 2.4 0.763 0.7 3.9 6.1 1.7 2.3 13.2 15.2 52.5% 49.4%

So it boils down to which Raymond Felton are the Knicks getting? Unfortunately even last year’s Felton wasn’t a big upgrade over Duhon. Even worse if that was a fluky career year, then the Knicks have made no progress. Ultimately it means they didn’t significantly upgrade the one position that is most crucial for a Mike D’Antoni run team. From what I’ve seen, the Knicks’ coach requires his point guards to be good passers, hence why he stuck with Duhon last year. Statistically there isn’t much of a difference between the old point guard and the new one. So if Felton hurts the New York offense with poor shooting, it’s likely that D’Antoni will stick with him as well, much to the team’s detriment.

The backup PG will be Toney Douglas, although it’s possible that he’ll play more SG than PG this year. Douglas is more of a scorer than Felton, but a better passer than his predecessor Nate Robinson. Last year Douglas was the forgotten man until mid-March but he played well once given the opportunity. His TS% was well above average (57.1%) and he provided strong defense on the perimeter. Douglas struggles running the offense, as his low assist total (3.7 ast/36) would attest. This year I don’t see D’Antoni ignoring him like last year, but I do see him as a huge underdog in unseating Felton. In the end I think he’ll fit nicely as the backup guard role, much like Barbosa did in Phoenix.

At the end of the line is Andy Rautins. It’s hard to predict how Rautins will do in the NBA, because he was a three point specialist who played mostly zone for the Orangemen. The rookie looked over matched in summer league, but has looked capable in limited minutes this preseason. Considering how selective D’Antoni is with his PGs, I don’t see him playing a lot of minutes, at least early on. However if in D’Antoni’s mind Felton isn’t cutting it, and Douglas isn’t the type of PG he wants, then Rautins could have a small window to show his stuff.

Poll

Did the Knicks Upgrade the PG position in 2011?

  • A little bit. (60%, 380 Votes)
  • Greatly. (32%, 203 Votes)
  • Not at all. (8%, 52 Votes)

Total Voters: 635

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66 comments on “Knicks 2011 Season Preview – Point Guards

  1. Frank O.

    Mike:

    Agreed with most of what you said…until your comments about Rautins.
    I think he has looked over-matched also in pre-season play.
    If he was a 3-pt specialist in college, it would appear his range is still the college 3-pt line. His 3-pt shot in the pros mostly comes up short. His ball handling has been pretty weak, and seems like the player least in the flow of the game whenever he is out there.

    I think Felton’s play, at least in part, is a result of unfamiliar surroundings. He doesn’t know his team well. He’s got to learn where they like the ball and in what situations. That takes some time.
    Frankly, Douglas has shown improvement in his game outside of his shooting. He’s been inconsistent.
    But again, all of these guys are dealing with an entirely new team, some are learning a new system, and others are playing themselves into shape.
    But I have been encouraged that the ball is moving freely from player to player. Everyone seems to be in the mix. And everyone appears to be pulling for everyone else.

    And one thing that to me is most important, the guards are playing some tough D. Not sure why you focused only on the PGs offense.
    True, Wall and Rondo showed an ability to break down our guards, but I think those are two of the best in the game at doing that. What was rewarding about that, however, was that our interior D forced those penetrating guards into some awkward passes and shots. When did we last have the ability to say that about the Knicks?
    I can’t tell you how happy I am that we have good defenders at the point, and at every position on the court.

  2. Z-man

    A fair comparitive question: Would the Bobcats have made the playoffs with Duhon instead of Felton? My guess is no.

  3. gbaked

    couple points.

    - Felton was drafted a year later and has over 1,000 more min then Duhon. He has played a lot more. Sample size may have something to do with Du having better career stats. Not to mention he played many of those min in Mike Ds stat stuffing O, compared to the many min Felton played in Browns slow pace.

    - I also dont think you can ignore their lives before the NBA. Felton was a top college PG and a top 5 pick. Duhon (who was also part of a top program) was the 38th pick in the draft. While I am not one to discount later picks (go Landry!) you have to imagine that the upside of Felton is much higher then that of Duhon.

    There is a chance that Felton plays like Duhon. There is a chance that Felton plays at a higher level then Duhon could ever dream of. There is no chance that Duhon plays like anything other then Duhon.

  4. stratomatic

    I think you summarized it perfectly.

    The issue is whether we are getting the Felton of last year who may be even more suited to this offense or the historic Felton who is no upgrade over Duhon at all.

    I would just add that Felton is generally regarded as a better defender (I haven’t seen enough to know). So even if his scoring efficieny, assists, etc… are flat with Duhon, we may be getting a slight upgrade on the other end of the court.

  5. Z

    @5– the Bobcats could have lost 4 more games and still made the playoffs. Would Duhon have cost them more than 4 wins? In the end, despite it all, did he even cost us 4 wins? Probably not.

    Switch Duhon for Felton last year and do the Knicks win more than 29 games? I wouldn’t put too much money on the over.

    Neither is a great option for a starting PG. Duhon was forgivable because he was signed as a stop-gap. In the 2 years Du was here, though, the Knicks passed over opportunities to draft a PG to groom to take his place. Now we have just another, slightly better, slightly higher priced, stop-gap PG. I can’t wait to see who the 2012 stop-gap PG is going to be. D.J. Augustin?

    (I bet Duhon comes out looking okay down in Orlando. Biggest problem with him in NY was the number of minutes D’Antoni gave him during the first half of the season. He’ll be playing his natural position in Orlando (backup PG), and he’ll have better people to pass to when he makes his doomed forays into the paint.)

  6. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Z: (I bet Duhon comes out looking okay down in Orlando. Biggest problem with him in NY was the number of minutes D’Antoni gave him during the first half of the season. He’ll be playing his natural position in Orlando (backup PG), and he’ll have better people to pass to when he makes his doomed forays into the paint.)

    Just wait until Jameer Nelson gets hurt.

  7. Z

    Mike Kurylo:
    Just wait until Jameer Nelson gets hurt.  

    Duhon’s averaging the same # of minutes as Nelson this preseason. He’s started one game. He’s leading the team in assists! (8.6/36). And the Magic are 6-0 in the preseason.

    That said, he’s also shooting 31% from the field, 15% from 3, and averaging 4.5 turnovers/36.

    So, the point is, Duhon can shoot like shit and be a mediocre distributor all season and the Magic won’t be all the worse off for it. He doesn’t have to shoot in ORL the way he did in NY last year. And when he dishes off the drive, he’s passing to Howard or Gortat, not Harrington. (Besides, didn’t Redick play some PG last year. Presumably he’d cover some of Nelson’s minutes when Nelson gets hurt…)

  8. rrude

    Felton looks much quicker than Duhon and there’s one area where this matters a lot–defense–that isn’t really mentioned (re: Felton) in the article above. Also, Felton looks more confident driving to the basket, and looks more assertive and likely to show any passion whatsoever for the fate of the team. Whereas Duhon looked tentative with the ball and disengaged between the whistles.

    Doesn’t necessarily add up to a statistical difference, but somehow it feels better. More team-y. (team-ish? team-like? team-ly?)

  9. Ted Nelson

    Mike Kurylo: Thought I’d add a poll to see what you think about the matter.  

    Like the poll and agree with the results: a little bit.

    I’m getting tired of bashing Felton, to be honest. If people really still think he’s good after not being good for 5 NBA seasons… good for them.

    Z: I think Mason Jr. will see time at the point before Rautins.  

    Agreed. I still hope Rautins can get it together long-term and give him some chance of doing so, but this season I would assume Mason gets a shot before him.

    Z-man: A fair comparitive question: Would the Bobcats have made the playoffs with Duhon instead of Felton? My guess is no.  

    Felton had a career best year and Duhon a career worst… so looking at one season is not necessarily predictive of what will happen this season or next.

  10. Frank

    Ted – I don’t think anyone is thinking that Felton is going to be Steve Nash. They just want him to be better than Duhon. Duhon was arguably the worst starting PG in the league last year. Nash is certainly top 5. If Felton can be top 12 then this team will really be something.

    Now back to the your vendetta against Felton – you need to remember that in Charlotte, Felton was playing in a system that is specifically not tailored to the talent that he showed in college – the talent that made him a high lottery pick. I know you disagree with me but systems matter in stats for most players. Sure, put LBJ in any system and he will be awesome. But imagine Yao Ming playing in SSOL. Not so good. The Shawn Marion example is obvious too.

    And re: Felton’s career best year — at least it was a career best year. I’d much rather have someone with an upward trajectory than a Duhon trajectory.

  11. Ted Nelson

    Frank: If Felton can be top 12 then this team will really be something.

    I think the chance of Felton being a top 12 PG in the NBA is about 1%… Even in his career season last year he was not in the top half of the league… Can you honestly think of 18 starting PGs you think Felton will be better than? Line-up all the starting PGs 1-30 and tell me where you think Felton ranks… I think you’ll be surprised if you think he was a chance to be top 12.
    Being relatively good at your position also doesn’t do much for your team… even if Felton manages to be the #20 starting PG (which I think is a best case), I think he’ll be a lot closer to whoever is #30 (Derek Fisher) than whoever is, say, #15 at the middle of the pack.

    Frank: Now back to the your vendetta against Felton

    I have no vendetta… I look at his stats and he sucks. It’s not a personal thing (though he does look like he could lose 10 pounds of fat and gain 10 pounds of muscle to be an NBA PG making $7 mill per… but that’s not why I don’t like him).

    Frank: you need to remember that in Charlotte, Felton was playing in a system that is specifically not tailored to the talent that he showed in college – the talent that made him a high lottery pick.

    I find this to be BS. If he improves in D’Antoni’s system chances are it will be pretty marginal. Tell me that last time a “high lottery pick” toiled into his mid-20s for 5 years in one system (with good health throughout and playing TONS of minutes) and then suddenly became twice as good…

    He was not a worthy high lottery pick. After the top 4 that draft was wide open… Martell Webster went one pick later, are you still waiting for him to become Ray Allen? Are you waiting on Marvin Williams to be better than Chris Paul? On Darko? Morrison? Olowakandi? Sam Bowie?

    I remember being stunned in 2005 when Charlotte took him that high. They have always overvalued college pedigree as an org… see May and Morrison and Henderson. It was a wide open draft and there was no obvious #5 after the clear-cut top 4, but I doubt many other teams would have gone Felton there. No mocks had him there, as I remember. He was a mid-to-late 1st round pick whose stock climbed in the NCAA tourney.

    Frank: I know you disagree with me but systems matter in stats for most players.

    This is not a subjective thing. If this is the case, there is plenty of data out there that will back you up. I’m not saying system/coach/team is irrelevant. I would say that it’s fairly marginal and also fairly unpredictable.

    Frank: And re: Felton’s career best year — at least it was a career best year. I’d much rather have someone with an upward trajectory than a Duhon trajectory.  

    One data point does not constitute a trajectory… I would be stunned if Duhon is as bad as last season (i.e. I think his trajectory looks good) and Felton is as good as last season… I would still take Felton over Duhon. Even with the $3 mill… I mean what else are the Knicks going to do with that money? I just think Felton is likely to suck…

  12. Robert Silverman

    All valid points w/r/t Felton, Ted.

    But, considering what was available this summer, and the fact that only the 1st two years are guaranteed, making Felton’s deal an oh-so-valuable expiring contract starting next season, who would you rather have starting? (Realistically, of course. We’d all like Chris Paul to be in the lineup right now but that just isn’t plausible).

    And you can’t say, “DW shoulda drafted Jennings or Lawson last year.” I hear you on that, but given the Nix options, was there a better choice than Felton?

    Would you have signed Ridnour (older than Ray and also coming off a career year. Awful defender)? Given up Gallinari to get Darren Collison? (considering NO got Ariza for him, that’s probably what it would have taken) Thown money at Kyle Lowry or Steve Blake? Just gone with Toney D?

    My point is, yes, Raymond Felton has flaws, but considering the length of his contract and the other options out there, I think it was the best move Walsh could have made.

  13. ess-dog

    Bleacher Report had Felton at #22 out of 30 between Rodney Stuckey and Mike Conley:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/490267-pg-rankings#page/10

    But there are “non starters” that you could argue as better than Felton like Teague and Calderon (who’s the starter there anyway?) although I wouldn’t because of defense.
    I pretty much agree with their assessment, except I think Mo Williams will continue to decline more than they expect.
    And to think, we could’ve just drafted their #9 or #19 rated point guard! Sheesh.

  14. ess-dog

    Sorry, I meant “Mike Bibby and Calderon”. Not sure who’s really starting there either.

    And this is just uncalled for Bleacher Report:

    “Felton is a good defender, though, an ability that won’t get utilized while playing for the Knicks.”

  15. nicos

    As many have mentioned even if Felton’s offense is Duhon-esque, his defense is really going to help. Duhon was awful at stopping penetration last year leading to a Chinese Fire Drill defense with Jeffries and even Gallo playing the point. Now D’Antoni likes putting big guys on the point at times and I expect to see Randolph guarding 1′s in some sets this season, but hopefully as a change of pace and not a steady diet like last year.

    Also, even if his shooting numbers look identical to Duhon’s this year, Felton seems to be much more willing to push the ball which will means we might actually get to see something resembling SSOL which given that this is a pretty athletic team should help generate some easy buckets.

    I do think if Felton really struggles shooting the ball TD has a chance to, if not replace him in the starting lineup, then at least wind up playing more minutes. I hope TD gets to play a little more point w/Amare and Gallo in the game- he hasn’t looked great running the offense late in the last couple of games but lineup he’s had to work with- Turiaf, Rautins, Fields, AR is kind of offensively challenged to begin with.

  16. Mulligan

    Any folks watching the game? TD getting plenty of steals right now. Wondering what’s up with Gallo…

  17. SeeWhyDee77

    Great work Mike! I’d say Felton is an upgrade, albeit not by much. I do think that playing under a coach as restrictive as LB did hurt his stats. But, if Felton can convert on his forays to the basket and shoot like he did last year, then we all will think he’s the greatest Knick PG of all time in comparison to Duhon. But for me, his defensive edge over Duhon is enough to call him an upgrade. I will say this in Duhon’s defense: he’s not totally inept on defense and coach played him way too many minutes. He needed to play Nate and TD more last season and just rode with it good or bad..it was a throwaway season after all.
    Re: tonights game-I know it’s only against the Nyets..but I am loving the effort on defense tonite.

  18. Mulligan

    Gallo seems to have perked up a bit now that he’s back in the game.

    Defense looking very promising, even if it’s just against the nets. Forcing lots of turnovers and getting out on the break.

  19. Mulligan

    Not really a fan of trading for Melo, but – watching Amar’e – I can see the appeal. That’s a lot of ammo between the two of them.

  20. ess-dog

    Damn we look tough. Especially with Douglas at the 2. We just have to run damnit. Run with Felton leading the break. This is very encouraging…

  21. Mulligan

    Felton using a couple of plays to show exactly how is not Duhon 2.0 The second half of this quarter was some nice looking basketball. STAT has 23 points in 17 mins. Zoinks!

  22. massive

    - Felton and Amar’e are dominating tonight. Felton with 9 assists, 4 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, and 2 turnovers in 19 minutes. STAT with 23 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, a 3 pointer, and 2 turnovers in 17 minutes.

    - Not sure why Chandler and Mozgov are not seeing much action; they’ve got 4 and 11 minutes respectively.

    - Toney Douglas, as usual, is doing what Toney Douglas do. 12 points and 3 steals in 13 minutes. He may be the most consistent player on the team outside of STAT this year.

  23. latke

    Ted Nelson: I think the chance of Felton being a top 12 PG in the NBA is about 1%… Even in his career season last year he was not in the top half of the league… Can you honestly think of 18 starting PGs you think Felton will be better than? Line-up all the starting PGs 1-30 and tell me where you think Felton ranks… I think you’ll be surprised if you think he was a chance to be top 12.
    Being relatively good at your position also doesn’t do much for your team… even if Felton manages to be the #20 starting PG (which I think is a best case), I think he’ll be a lot closer to whoever is #30 (Derek Fisher) than whoever is, say, #15 at the middle of the pack.

    Ranking starting point guards

    1) Chris Paul
    2) Deron Williams
    3) Rajon Rondo
    4) Steve Nash
    5) Russell Westbrook
    7) Jameer Nelson
    8) Jason Kidd
    9) Chauncey Billups
    10) Derrick Rose
    11) Tyreke Evans
    12) Baron Davis
    13) Tony Parker
    14) John Wall
    15) Mo Williams
    16) Monta Ellis
    17) Andre Miller
    18) Brandon Jennings
    19) Devin Harris
    20) Jose Calderon
    21) Aaron Brooks
    22) Mike Bibby
    23) Mike Conley
    24) Jrue Holiday
    25) Jonny Flynn (or ridnour?)
    26) Derek Fisher
    27) Rodney Stuckey
    28) Carlos Arroyo
    29) DJ Augustin

    I think Felton could end up anywhere from 15 to 25. Coincidentally, the talent level really falls off right at 15.

  24. Z-man

    Now that we’ve gotten a better look at Amar’e, is there still any doubt that he’s a legit max player?

  25. BigBlueAL

    Just looked at box score, Knicks outrebounded 52-34 and Anthony Randolph in 21 minutes had 0 rebounds. Amar’e besides his 39 pts had 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. Yeah he is pretty good.

  26. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I can see it now:

    Will the Knicks be able to move Carmelo’s expiring for young talent?
    October 19th, 2016 by Mike Kurylo | Comments | Permalink |

    On the heels of a fifth consecutive first-round playoff exit…

  27. BigBlueAL

    Nah HCJ, if Knicks get Melo I think they will be a perennial Final 4 team in the East, even as quick as this season. 4th best team in the East is between Hawks, Bulls, Bucks. Not exactly powerhouses (although Bulls could be real good).

  28. latke

    Robert Silverman: Here we go again…http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/nba/news/story?id=5705466&campaign=rss&source=twitter&ex_cid=Twitter_espn_5705466  

    hahaha I came here to post the same link with the same caption (here we go again). Is there really anything more to say? I suppose all I have to add is that I wonder how heavily Walsh (or D’Antoni?) is weighing the preseason performances of gallinari and randolph. Neither has shown much, but then it is preseason…

    Z-man: Where’s Collison? 

    Yup, that’s the missing PG…. I suppose he’s probably #22 or so.

  29. Nick C.

    Yup, that’s the missing PG…. I suppose he’s probably #22 or so. latke

    As much as I’m not crazy about all the Felton bashing b4 he has even played a minute when I ran down that list I stopped right there too.

  30. Brian Cronin

    Which is all Ted is really saying, it just sounds like he’s “bashing” Felton because of how he phrases it, but what he says about Felton is pretty much what all of us think about Felton.

    It’s like years ago on this site when we kept being called “Kobe-bashers” because we suggested he wasn’t the best player in the NBA.

  31. Brian Cronin

    I really want to be able to see Gallo play for the Knicks this year. I’d honestly prefer to trade Randolph for Melo than Gallo (even if perhaps Randolph compliments Melo better).

  32. Nick C.

    True Brian but on the other hand … there is no problem hyping certain “pets” based on very limited minutes I think the Balkman for future DPOY that was spammed and revived or Toney Douglas or for that matter the very few that were all about Earl Barron. On Felton its the word choices … and the dismissiveness of his last season as if it can’t be an uptick in his play. For that matter the wild swings on Anthony Randolph.

  33. Frank O.

    I’m quite certain that Ted doesn’t need defending, but I just wanted to chime in on this Felton thing.
    I think he’s right on Felton and agree with Brian that he’s basically saying what everyone is basically saying about Felton.
    When you first start reading Ted’s sometimes enormous posts, there is a “Rain Man” quality tone to what he writes that some times comes across a bit harsh. :) Perhaps that’s why he seems like a basher, although I don’t think he is on this point.
    I offer this because I have bashed players in the past, in particular Nate.

    Ted:

    Speaking of Nate, after we’ve had quite a few run in over him, I was wondering what your thoughts were about his play for the Celts. I have watched him a few times in preseason and he seems basically like the same player. Celtics announcers are saying a lot of the same things Knicks announcers have said, except with the difference that the Celts don’t need to depend on him as much as the Knicks did.
    But knowing you have followed him some, I was curious to read whether you thought playing for the Celts has made him better, worse, or largely the same, which is to say a bench guy who comes with energy and scoring, but still prone to mistakes of exuberance…

  34. Frank O.

    I reread my last post @42, and was concerned that I was unclear. My comments were about Ted’s prose, which are clinical, factual, and direct.
    My Rain Man comment was an inartful representation.

  35. Frank

    my last post (For now) on this Felton business:

    last 3 games per 40 stats for him:

    16.6 points, 10.8 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 3.1 TOs.
    TS 52.5%

    Bear in mind two of these games were against the Celtics and all-NBA defender Rajon Rondo, against whom he was matched up most of the time. Clearly a small sample size — but just sayin’.

    I’m not expecting 16 and 11 for the year — but in my opinion it is not remotely out of the question for him to average (per-40) 15 points, 8.5 assists, TS somewhere near average, 2.5:1 A/TO ratio, and good perimeter defense. If he can shoot 35+% from 3 (which he has done twice in a five year career so not out of the realm of possibility) that would just be icing.

    And regarding Ted – it’s definitely the TONE and the way he writes as opposed to the actual content of his posts. I definitely respect and like to read what he has to say — just wish the ivory-tower nature of it would be toned down a bit. No one here has a monopoly on the truth, advanced stats or not, since even the most insightful statistical analyses can spit out the wrong result (see: Michael Sweetney, Nick Fazekas, Balkman, etc.) just as “watching the game” and traditional “analysis” can similarly overrate a player (see: Iverson, Boozer’s draft fall etc.).

  36. sbutt

    Mike I guess the poll at the end of your post (PS great post) is influencing answers.

    Personally speaking I guess Felton is a big improvement (compared to Duhon)also considering the type of work he did in Charlotte with Larry Brown.

  37. AY

    I just watched the Knicks-Nets game, and Felton looked really really good. I know it’s only one preseason game against the Nets, but I’m feeling much better about his ability to make the offense go in D’antoni’s system. He had 9 assists in the first half, and many of them were off of very slick passes. His skill level’s quite high.

    TD was also amazing. He has more confidence this year, you can tell. And Amare’s as advertised.

    On the flip side, Gallo and Chandler were unproductive, and Randolph was tantalizing but confusing.

  38. gabriel

    the way everybody is bashing felton is very premature, it is only preseason. comparing felton and duhon as basically the same player is laughable. Felton is much, much, better then duhon. Duhon is a backup period. where as felton is a point guard who won a championchip with nc. Also a way better defensive point guard. Felton has to pickup a entirely different new offense, with new players so there will be growing pains but as the season goes on he will get better and better, as witnessed from last night game.
    Felton is a good pg not great and could be a stabilizing force for a playoff contender.

  39. Z

    gabriel: the way everybody is bashing felton is very premature, it is only preseason.comparing felton and duhon as basically the same player is laughable.Felton is much, much, better then duhon. Duhon is a backup period.where as felton is a point guard who won a championchip with nc.  

    Uhm, Duhon is a point guard who won a championship with Duke.

    Which basically goes toward what Ted has been “ranting” about here since July. Duhon and Felton both come from high college pedigree which make people ignore their mediocre-to-poor large sample of professional statistics.

  40. Nick C.

    Z all I’m sayin’ is wait till they count for real …. the days of Zeke are over so have a little faith in the regime. I think people were questioning Donnies sanity from the first week he was here and the Balkman move. As for Ted I can’t dispute what he says and in fact usually if I have a question the best way to get a reasoned answer is to start it “Ted, …”

  41. Z

    Nick C.: Z all I’m sayin’ is wait till they count for real …. the days of Zeke are over so have a little faith in the regime.I think people were questioning Donnies sanity from the first week he was here and the Balkman move.As for Ted I can’t dispute what he says and in fact usually if I have a question the best way to get a reasoned answer is to start it “Ted, …”  

    I have faith in the regime. Walsh went out and bought the best PG on the market. He didn’t over pay. Good move.

    But the best PG on the market may only be a marginal improvement over what we’ve had. (And I know Ted seconds this because it’s just a rehashing of what he’s been saying for months).

    But, at the same time, if Felton does prove to perform consistent to his career production, Walsh is going to be open to criticism because we knew two years ago that Ray Felton was going to be the best PG on the market, and we ignored the likes of Jennings, Collison, Lawson, and Holiday in the draft. (*Well, I suppose D’Antoni was holding out hope that Steve Nash would be a free agent this summer, but a contingency plan would have been nice).

  42. Nick C.

    I never looked at it that way but that is a good point if you pardon the unintentionally horrible pun. I thought (and hated) that they were putting all their eggs in the LeBron basket and didn’t think they would need a PG, per se.

  43. Nick C.

    One thing I forgot re: Mike’s analysis: is PER so loathed b/c of the (over)reliance on usage that TSP is the go to stat for evaluation. By PER Felton is for his career @ 14.1 to Duhon’s 11.5 which is what 20 odd percent better, though still no great shakes.

  44. Ted Nelson

    Robert Silverman: But, considering what was available this summer, and the fact that only the 1st two years are guaranteed, making Felton’s deal an oh-so-valuable expiring contract starting next season, who would you rather have starting?

    I agree that in the context it wasn’t a terrible decision and may very well have been the right/best one… The only real answer would be a salary dump from another team and the only sure thing candidate really (guy who was a salary dump, so there’s no speculation involved) is Sessions. Sessions isn’t necessarily better than Felton and has the guaranteed 3rd year. They had limited resources and roster spots, but one answer I would throw out there is that when you have one of the worst starting PGs in the league–and PGs are available in abundance–you don’t go into camp with no other PG on the roster… I mean I have no idea what the communication between D’Antoni and Walsh has been like on the issue… but Walsh has to figure the ONLY option he’s given D’Antoni at PG that he will use extensively is Felton. Douglas maybe, but that’s going to take a big improvement in playmaking/running the offense. Mason is a combo-guard and Rautins is a green combo-guard who probably should have joined Jordan in Europe for a season or two. I would have liked to see at least some PEj/Shawne Williams type options at PG over the summer and in camp. Maybe bring an additional 4 PGs to Summer League or something… Carroll was worth a look, but also a combo-guard.

    Brian Cronin: I really want to be able to see Gallo play for the Knicks this year. I’d honestly prefer to trade Randolph for Melo than Gallo (even if perhaps Randolph compliments Melo better).  

    The rumor I read on ESPN implied BOTH…

  45. Ted Nelson

    latke: Ranking starting point guards

    We can bicker about specific rankings, but I still don’t see much chance he’s a top 20 PG on that list… You never know, if he limits his FGAs while making more plays in this offense… maybe.

    Z-man: Now that we’ve gotten a better look at Amar’e, is there still any doubt that he’s a legit max player?  

    He’s definitely answered a lot of questions, but in fairness a lot of the questions are about his long-term health. Those can only be answered over time and aren’t even necessarily under his control. I’m definitely happy about the signing.

    Nick C.: As much as I’m not crazy about all the Felton bashing b4 he has even played a minute

    He’s played 13,939 minutes…

    Nick C.: True Brian but on the other hand … there is no problem hyping certain “pets” based on very limited minutes I think the Balkman for future DPOY that was spammed and revived or Toney Douglas or for that matter the very few that were all about Earl Barron. On Felton its the word choices … and the dismissiveness of his last season as if it can’t be an uptick in his play. For that matter the wild swings on Anthony Randolph.  

    When dealing with projections all you can really do, even in the best case, is say X is about X likely to happen. Balkman WAS and IS a very good defensive player. He’s had other issues especially fouls… players tend to clean up their foul problems so that was a realistic expectation, but he hasn’t managed to do what most others do. He has had his moments in Denver. I really like TD and don’t really feel a need to defend him… he can ball. AR, we all got a little over-excited I think but his long-term prospects are very good.

    This is sort of how investing works… Similarly uncertain to basketball players, but again there is statistical evidence you can use. Like with GMs/fans/media there are tons of different styles, but over time you just have to be right most of the time and things will even out. The different for a GM vs. an investor, though, is that a GM is going to have limited chances (even over a long career, but especially if he/she makes a few wrong calls in a row… he/she may may never find a GM job again…)

  46. Ted Nelson

    Frank O.: I was curious to read whether you thought playing for the Celts has made him better, worse, or largely the same, which is to say a bench guy who comes with energy and scoring, but still prone to mistakes of exuberance…  

    I would probably say largely the same… He’s got his strengths and I consider him fairly valuable overall, but also short-comings/limitations. A quality combo-guard. The Celtics have the worst announcers ever (EVER… hurts my ears to listen), and I’m not likely to pay much attention to announcers in general. I do think he’s going to be an inconsistent type who announcer subjective types don’t like because they don’t bother to quantify what he does vs. someone else.

    Frank: No one here has a monopoly on the truth, advanced stats or not, since even the most insightful statistical analyses can spit out the wrong result

    I agree, I just feel pretty strongly that Raymond Felton is not a good NBA PG… I hope he proves me wrong, though. There is a chance the change in style will bring out the best in him, but it’s not likely to make him an entirely different player.

  47. Brian Cronin

    The rumor I read on ESPN implied BOTH…

    While they certainly were not clear, I don’t believe that was what they were getting at.

    They wrote:

    The offers the Knicks have proposed have always centered around packages including Anthony Randolph, the expiring contract of Eddy Curry and a first-round draft pick they would acquire from a third team, and New York has softened its stance on including forward Danilo Gallinari in a trade.

    That reads to me that they are just wavering on whether they’re willing to sub Gallo in for Randolph, not that they are considering adding Gallo to Randolph.

    The next paragaph makes it a bit more clear…

    The most recent obstacle, according to the source, was for the Knicks to use one of those assets, likely Randolph or Gallinari, to acquire a player from a third team that the Nuggets value more highly than either of the Knicks forwards. The source said that obstacle can now be overcome, with the Knicks confident they can get their hands on a player the Nuggets would prefer. (emphasis mine)

  48. Ted Nelson

    Brian Cronin: That reads to me that they are just wavering on whether they’re willing to sub Gallo in for Randolph, not that they are considering adding Gallo to Randolph.

    As you say it’s unclear. Even in the last paragraph it can be read that the Knicks will send Gallo/Randolph to Denver and Gallo/Randolph to a third team. Denver apparently had an offer on the table of Favors AND their choice of AK/Harris/Diaw AND TWO 1sts. If the Knicks get him for only one of Gallo/AR + one first, his price has been cut in half in a few weeks… That’s why I’m assuming Denver is still asking for both. The Knicks are probably not rushing to offer both, but that’s why I read it as “they are softening their stance on including Gallo on top of their package to get a deal done.”

  49. Z-man

    @55 Ted
    “He’s definitely answered a lot of questions, but in fairness a lot of the questions are about his long-term health.”

    I meant the questions of whether he was as good or better than Bosh, and more importantly, how dependent he was on Nash (perhaps the most mentioned concern.) As high as I have been on him, now that he’s here, I have been even more impressed with his ball-handling, shooting, and array of offensive moves than I was before. His defense and rebounding are about as expected (not as bad as some say, not great).

    As to injuries, after not missing even one of 100 or so games last year, and considering his crazy work ethic and chiseled physique, I am not any more worried than I would be about Bosh, Wade, Boozer (sheesh!), CP3, or frankly, anyone other than LeBron, who seems (hammy and elbow aside) indestructable.

    Anyway, he is certainly looking everything like a max player thus far, and will be fun to root for.

  50. Z

    Well, according to the Bible of Truth and Integrity (the NY Post, of course) Spike Lee is now working with Walsh and Anthony to get a trade done (Lee, being a fan and not an NBA employee, is exempt from tampering). So, according to Spike Lee, Carmelo only wants to play for the Knicks. The fact that Anthony does have some semblance of power in all this is probably what is driving the price down for the Knicks. (here’s the link for anyone who actually wants to see the original source of this… http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/melo_talks_spike_up_6EE3AEZSsvdqxS6YAgqhpM)

    In the end, Carmelo will have to compromise on something, be it location, quality teammates, or $. Seems to me that he can compromise on $ in NY, agreeing to an extension below what the Nuggets are offering, leaving them with flexibility in 2012, should the Knicks have to include Gallo AND Raldolph (and Chandler, and Douglas, and Mosgov, and Fields, and their 2014 pick, and their 2016 pick, and their 2018 pick, and Patrick Ewing Jr’s first born son…)

  51. Ted Nelson

    Brian Cronin: As an aside, if it is both, then that trade is ludicrous.  

    I agree, but if the Favors/Harris–>AK/picks deal was legit I can see why Denver feels his market value is both plus a pick or two.

    If the Knicks really do have the market cornered the price should come down, but then again they can just wait till the offseason too and really pay nothing (I think they can offer a max or around there, no? If not a s&t is still likely to be cheaper)… If he really puts winning first Melo should also want to wait, but that would create more financial insecurity for him between the CBA and injury risk.

    Z-man: I meant… As to injuries…

    I know, I agree he’s doing great. Couldn’t ask for more so far (granted, not one game’s been played… and whether he’s better than player x also depends how player x plays). I’m just saying that half the media criticism/skepticism on the Amare deal was the injury risk… I remember reading a lot of “he’ll earn his contract early, but they shouldn’t have given him so long…”

    I don’t really have an opinion on his injury risk since I have no medical expertise. The micro-fracture surgery does seem like a big deal. Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin have played just fine for years and into relatively old NBA age after that procedure (don’t know how much lost athleticism is from that v. age), but there is some evidence Penny, T-Mac, Houston, and C-Webb were hurt by their knees in their early 30s. Again, I don’t know anything about medicine or the specific circumstances of those players.

    Z-man: frankly, anyone other than LeBron, who seems (hammy and elbow aside) indestructable.

    I wouldn’t go that far unless I knew the surgery wasn’t a long-term risk, since there are plenty of other players who haven’t missed a full season with a really major surgery. I absolutely would be as worried or more about CP3 as Amare, though, yeah. Boozer too and possibly Wade.

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