When Raymond Felton got off to a fantastic start to the season, his play shielded the Knicks from charges that they made a mistake when they refused to match the Rockets’ offer for Jeremy Lin. But with Felton struggling while playing with a pair of swollen paws, Howard Megdal over at Capital New York thinks it may be time to reconsider:
Felton is now shooting just 39.8 percent, below Lin’s season rate of 41.9 percent. The two have comparable assist percentages, even with Lin playing a large chunk of his time off the ball. Felton has a better turnover percentage, but the value of that is mitigated by all the missed long twos, making for wasted possessions.
Felton is in his eighth year, playing right to the median of his career work. This is who he is.
And then there’s Lin, whose 2011-12 season was significantly better than anything Felton has ever done, appearing to adjust to a very difficult situation in Houston roughly 25 games into the season. Both Lin and Felton are signed for three years, which also happens to be the length of remaining time of the contracts of Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler. Getting the best point guard for them, for the next three years, was paramount.
The Knicks are winning, but it’s not because they replaced Lin with Felton. It’s because the rest of the Knicks are playing well enough to make up for it.
It’s worth noting that this wasn’t really an either/or decision for the Knicks, as the team could have both acquired Felton and kept Lin. But, it is interesting to see that Lin has definitely closed the gap between the two in recent games. I think Megdal’s assessment is a little harsh on Felton, particularly considering the injuries he’s fighting through, but there’s no doubt this is a question that really won’t be answered over a matter of weeks. Instead, it will be born out over the next few seasons. Nonetheless, it’s also pretty hard to quibble with a 19-6 start, with Felton still fitting the city like a well worn glove.