Amar'e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton Not In The Zone

Janice AdamsContributor INovember 2, 2010

When the Knicks signed Raymond Felton to a two-year $15.8 million deal in July, along with Amar'e Stoudemire, they envisioned them to be the faces of the "new" New York Knicks. In the Knicks first three games, Felton and Stoudemire have been out of sync.

Felton and Stoudemire both appear uncomfortable, and that's understandable since this is only their third game together.

The Portland Trailblazers spoiled the home Knicks debut of Amar'e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton and another stellar game off the bench for Wilson Chandler, as they used a 17-3 run to come from nine points down and win 100-95.

The Trailblazers used a stifling zone defense against Stoudemire, and clutch shooting by Brandon Roy and Andre Miller down the stretch.

Even though Amar'e scored 18 points, his refusal to trust his new teammates and to pass the ball out of the double- and triple-teams that he is facing, he has averaged six turnovers.

The Knicks are going to face plenty of zone defenses, unless the Knicks can start hitting the outside shot. The Knicks shot 7-28 from beyond the arc, a dismal 42 percent, and Gallinari is still M.I.A.

Stoudemire is used to getting the ball from Steve Nash. He is used to catching the ball and shooting a short jumper, or getting the ball deep in the paint and using his strength to go in for the dunk.

Nash knew just where Stoudemire liked to catch the ball, and together they formed an awesome 1-2 punch for the Phoenix Suns.

Felton is not Nash, nor is he trying to be.

"I am who I am, Steve Nash is who he is," said Felton after the Knicks lost to the Portland Trailblazers last night, and spoiled not only the home debut of both Felton and Stoudemire with a 101-95 win, but Wilson Chandler's 22-point, 16-rebound game.

"We're still getting used to each other, still trying to get our chemistry," said Stoudemire.

It's premature to expect the same from Felton, but the pressure is on him to get the ball to Stoudemire and for Amar'e to lead this team to the playoffs.

Tony Parker is not coming; he has signed an extension with the San Antonio Spurs. It seems as if the Knicks have to stick it out for another two years until Chris Paul becomes available.

It's still early, so no need to panic just yet, but Felton is trying so hard to not be like Steve Nash that he is forgetting to be Raymond Felton.