2012 NBA Free Agency: Why Raymond Felton Is the Most Underrated Pickup

Benjamin J. BlockCorrespondent IIAugust 6, 2012

2012 NBA Free Agency: Why Raymond Felton Is the Most Underrated Pickup

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    The unemployment rate in our country continues to be sky high and while many organizations are not hiring, David Stern and the NBA are open for business.

    A year removed from the collective bargaining agreement fiasco that consumed the 2011 offseason, this offseason has been a different kind of chaos as some of the NBA's finest have been on the move.

    Ray Allen and Steve Nash have moved their residences to Miami and Los Angeles, respectively, and Joe Johnson signed with the Nets as they embark on their inaugural season in Brooklyn. But what about the underrated pick-ups that go unnoticed? 

    The player without all the commercials and endorsements who is the underrated steal of this offseason is Raymond Felton.  

    The New York Knicks have brought back the 6'1", 205 lb bulldog-like point guard for his second tour with the team, and it couldn't be a better fit. As someone who thought it was a mistake to include him in that trade that brought Carmelo Anthony to NY, the Knicks made a great move in getting his services again. He's got the heart, head and intangibles to make New York a perennial contender in the East.

    Lets take a further look at some of the reasons why this underrated pickup should pay off for the Knicks.

Reason No. 1

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    In his first go around in 2010-2011, Felton averaged 17.1 points and nine assists over 54 games before the monumental Carmelo Anthony trade sent him to Denver.  Primarily, he is a great pickup because of the fluid pick-and-roll chemistry he had with Amar'e Stoudemire.  It's no secret that Amar'e has been a different player since Felton left the Knicks.  Even though the two only played together for half a season, they had such a great knack for that pick-and-roll, and that is a play that the Knicks haven't been able to really execute in Felton's absence.  With him back running the point, there is high hope that he'll also help rejuvenate Stoudemire's career and return him to form.

Reason No. 2

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    Two words, Jason Kidd.  The 39-year-old future Hall of Famer will undoubtedly increase Felton's value to the team.  While Kidd's choice to join the Knicks initially hinged on him developing Jeremy Lin, Raymond Felton will be just as good a student; maybe even a better one.  Kidd knows a little something about dishing and swishing, working a high powered offense and winning a championship, so Felton is in good hands under the tutelage of Kidd. 

Reason No. 3

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    After Felton was traded to the Denver Nuggets in the 2010-2011 season, he played out the second half of that year as a teammate of J.R. Smith.  Last season, after Smith came over to the Knicks, he ignited the team with his instant offense. Felton will be reunited with ex-pals Amar'e and J.R., so he'll be stepping into a situation where he's already comfortable with two main components of the team's offense. That will be key, because the Knicks' offensive depth is crowded with talented players that he will need to gel with.   

Reason No. 4

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    The Knicks appear to have the depth at every position in order for Felton to orchestrate with some of the best talent he's had in his 7 years in the league so far.

    He'll have Steve "Novakane" Novak on the wing, coming off a season last year where he shot .472 from three-point range.  And on the other wing he'll have Melo, who averaged a steady 22.6 points per game and is capable of going off on any night.  Don't forget about the newest old Knicks, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas, who will join 2011-2012 Defense Player of the Year Tyson Chandler in the front court.

    Felton should be like a kid in F.A.O Schwarz on Christmas morning this upcoming season.

Lets Hear from Raymond Himself

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    On Friday July 27, 2012, Raymond Felton spoke to MSG Broadcasters in this interview about the upcoming season with the New York Knicks.