Who Is NY Knicks' Second-Best Offensive Weapon, Raymond Felton or J.R. Smith?
Ideally it's neither.
But with Amar'e Stoudemire wearing designer gear instead of orange and blue, the Knicks need someone to fill that role.
Let's start with Raymond Felton.
Being a point guard, Felton is obviously more of a multidimensional offensive weapon. With regard to the other starting point guards in the league, he's best defined as average, both as a scorer and playmaker. (For argument's sake, I'd rank him behind: Deron, Rondo, Rose, Kyrie, Lawson, Curry, Paul, Nash, Conley, Westbrook, Holiday, Parker, Lillard, Lowry, Wall, in no particular order).
Sorry, had to get that out of my system.
So as I was saying, Felton is your average, middle-of-the-pack starting NBA point guard.
Based on his career numbers of 41 percent from the floor and 33 percent from downtown, he's a below-average shooter. And I'd say he's an above-average playmaker, given the system he's in and pieces around him.
J.R. Smith is your typical "microwave" sixth man. He's not consistent enough to earn regular starter minutes, but he's deadly enough to get the opportunity, though with a short leash.
Smith's contribution to the Knicks is in a concentrated dose. He's a high-volume scorer, but doesn't contribute much else.
If he's on, J.R. Smith is a legitimate number two scoring option. When he's off, he's a non-factor and potentially detrimental to the team. Which is what makes him an ideal number three option.
So who's a better offensive weapon? I guess it depends on what night we're talking about.
As a weapon, J.R. Smith is the most potent. He could take down an entire target in one shot.
Felton on the other hand can reach multiple targets, but only do minimal damage to each.
So we'll answer the question with this:
Because of J.R. Smith's potency as a scorer, he controls the destiny of the argument. When he's locked in, Smith is the more destructive weapon. We've seen him take over games, put a team on his back and fire away, as if he were aiming for a hula hoop instead of a rim.
But if he's off target, J.R. Smith is no longer a weapon, but a decoy, and Felton becomes the better weapon.
Because of Felton's ability to contribute in a variety of different ways, a bad shooting night won't necessarily cap his productivity. Even if his shot isn't falling, which at 41% for his career isn't that unlikely, Felton could still impact the game by controlling the pace, setting up teammates and running the offense.
Fact of the matter is, no team contending for a championship should have either of these two guys as their second-best offensive weapons. But if we have to choose one...
Just ask J.R. He'll tell you.
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