Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd have the very difficult task of replacing Jeremy Lin as the team’s point guard.
Unfortunately, this duo may be doomed from the get-go.
The Knicks must have a successful campaign in 2012-13.
If these two don’t lead the team to a hot start, the NY fans and media will be calling for their heads in no time.
Here are five reasons why the point guard tandem of Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd is doomed to fail.
Over the past two seasons, Kidd’s production has significantly declined.
Of course Kidd won’t be able to put up the same stat totals with his decreased minutes, but he still should have relatively similar percentages.
During the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 season, Kidd shot over 40 percent from both the field goal and from three. Over the past two seasons though, Kidd has a shot a little over 36 percent from the field and under 36 percent from three.
Kidd has also been shooting worse from the free-throw line. Last season, Kidd shot under 80 percent from the line for the first time since he was a member of the Nets in 2006-2007.
With Kidd only getting older, there is no reason to believe these attributes will improve and not just continue on a steady decline.
With teammates like Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and J.R. Smith, Raymond Felton must turn his focus away from scoring and on to passing.
Over his seven seasons in the NBA, Felton’s average for assists per game is 6.7. He has only dished out more than eight assists per game during one season. That means he has more seasons averaging under six per game than he does averaging over eight per game.
On the flip side, Felton has averaged double-figures every season of his 7-year career even though his average field goal percentage is only 41.2 percent.
This is only possible since he averages over 12 field goal attempts each game. For more than half of his career, Felton has been top-ten in the league in this category for point guards.
It will be a huge adjustment for Felton to now become a pass-first point guard and I don’t think he’ll be able to do it.
Jason Kidd will turn 40 years old this season.
Kidd’s legs have played through 1,315 regular season games and 146 playoff games. At his averages of 36.6 minutes per game during the regular season and 40 minutes per game during the playoffs, that totals over 50,000 minutes during his 18-year career.
Kidd has significantly slowed down from the run-and-gun style he used to thrive in while playing in Phoenix and New Jersey.
This offensive style is also the one the Knicks have been using since Mike D’Antoni became head coach back in 2008. Even after Mike Woodson took over as head coach mid-season, the Knicks still had a very fast paced offense.
Kidd will unfortunately fail when being asked to lead the Knicks on the fast break on a consistent basis.
Raymond Felton was terrible during the 2011-2012 season as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers.
It started off on the wrong note as he came to camp overweight and out of shape. Coach McMillan was not pleased with Felton saying, "He's not where he wants to be.”
Then the season started and Felton was not producing like he had the seasons prior. He had the lowest scoring average of his career and also shot a lower field goal and three-point percentage than he had the two seasons prior. He also averaged only 6.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game, both lower than his career averages.
Why are we supposed to believe that Felton is going to turn this around? He’s been going down hill ever since he left the Knicks two seasons ago.
We can only hope Felton is the same player we remember watching in 2010, but it doesn’t appear likely.
It may not even be their fault that the two of them are doomed to fail next season.
Even if the two of them play better than they have in years, it still will probably not compare to how great Jeremy Lin was during his 26-game run as leader of the Knicks last season.
Unless they can match Lin’s production, the fans and media will always fault the Knicks for letting Lin leave for Houston. Felton and Kidd will take the blame for this, even though they are not deserving of it.
The expectations for Felton and Kidd are just sky high. No matter how well they play, anything short of bringing the Knicks to a championship will be seen as a failure in the public’s eyes.
The odds appear to be stacked against them and it will take a tremendous effort out of both players to convince the public they were the better choice over Lin.
We’ll soon find out if they have it in them.