Raymond Felton will have the extremely tough task of replacing fan favorite Jeremy Lin as the Knicks' starting point guard.
Everyone, including Lin, believed the New York Knicks would not let him leave the team under any circumstances this offseason.
A source close to the team even told Marc Stein of ESPN.com that, “They will match any offer on Lin up to $1 billion.”
It seems that three years for $25 million was equivalent to that one billion however, since that’s all it took for the Knicks to decide Lin was too expensive for their liking and they needed to replace him immediately.
Raymond Felton, still bitter that the Knicks traded him away two seasons ago, was willing to do anything to make his way back to New York.
Felton is now back where he feels he belongs.
Here are five ways that Raymond Felton can make the New York fans forget about the Linsanity of last season.
Raymond Felton is a better perimeter shooter than Jeremy Lin is.
Even during his down year last season where he seemed uninterested at times, Felton still shot a respectable 30.5 percent from three. This is only a tad below the 32 percent Lin shot from downtown last season.
The two years prior when Felton was at his peak, he shot 38.5 percent and 35.3 percent from three.
He has a career average of 33 percent from three, which is still higher than the 32 percent Lin shot last season when he was playing out of his mind.
With all of the attention that Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire draw when the ball is in their hands, Felton should get a ton of open looks from distance.
Jeremy Lin’s biggest issue was his tremendous amount of turnovers.
During January and February, the only months that Lin averaged over 10 minutes per game, he was turning the ball over on average 4.4 times per game. Had he played for a full season with that average, he would have led the league in turnovers last year.
During every season of Felton’s seven-year career, his turnover average has been under three per game. A 2.6 turnovers-per-game average his very respectable for a point guard who has played in 34.8 minutes per game for his career.
If Felton can secure the ball and not lose so many possessions like Lin did, the Knicks will be much better off.
Raymond Felton is definitely one of the toughest point guards in the NBA.
He always plays intense defense on whomever he needs to guard and never backs down from a challenge. Regardless of if his opponent is a player like Chris Paul, Deron Williams or Russell Westbrook, you know Felton will be in their face making their life miserable for the entire game.
Felton had a career high of 1.8 steals per game during his 54 games with the Knicks in 2010 and will be looking to build on that success now that he’s back in New York.
Just two seasons ago, Raymond Felton finished sixth in the NBA in assists per game with an average of 8.3.
Even during that season though, Felton didn’t have even close to the crew of dynamic scorers around him that he will have next year with the Knicks. Playing alongside scorers like Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and J.R. Smith should only increase Felton’s assists to an all-time high.
If he can distribute the ball to his teammates well enough, he will have the New York Knicks fans saying, “Jeremy Lin who?”.
You know what you’re going to get out of Carmelo Anthony, so the real question mark for next season is how well will Amar’e Stoudemire play?
STAT thrives when playing in a pick-and-roll system that allows him to attack the basket. Felton also loves this style of play and has proven that the combination of him and Stoudemire is a pretty formidable duo.
During Stoudemire’s first season in New York when Felton was running the point for the first 54 games of the season, Stoudemire had the second-highest points-per-game average of his career, 25.3.
If Felton can help Stoudemire have the same success this season as he did the last time the two teamed up, the Knicks will certainly be one of the top teams in the East and advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2000.