The New York Knicks, while stumbling and bumbling the last four games, are still holding tight to the sixth playoff slot in the East. They enjoy a five-game lead over playoff pretenders Charlotte and Indiana.
If they maintain their grip, the Knicks will make postseason play for the first time in seven years, thanks in part to Amar'e Stoudemire's bounding and astounding and Raymond Felton's slicing and dicing.
Felton is having a career year, and his impact on the Knicks' play, statline and record can't be underestimated. Sure, Amar'e is having an MVP-like season, but without Felton's swishin' and dishin', both the Knicks and Amar'e would be lookin' a little more Lilliputian.
Felton's scoring average, 17.6, is more than three points higher than his career-best, and five points higher than last year. Amongst guards, he's fifth in the whole league in double-doubles and steals. He's sixth in assists and 10th in efficiency.
If he keeps this up and adds some statistical leadership numbers and playoff appearances to his dossier, one day he might find himself on a slideshow like this: the result of diligently digging through the Knicks' 65 seasons and punching and crunching the numbers, The Top 10 Knicks Guards in History.
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The list attempts to rank both shooting and point guards based on 11 categories. Each player is given a relative score between one (worst) and five (best) for each category, based on their career with the Knicks and disregarding play for any other team.
All players must be primarily guards (no forward-guards, for example) and have played for the Knicks for a minimum of four years.
Here are the categories. The full spreadsheet is available to view on the final slide.
1. Playoff Appearances and Championships
2. Years of Service
3. Offensive Play
4. Defensive Play
5. Hall of Famer
6. Franchise Statistical Leadership
7. Awards / Honors
8. All-Star Appearances
9. League Statistical Leadership
10. Level of Competition
11. Intangibles ("clutchness," leadership, impact on franchise)