The easy thing to do would be to heap the blame on Raymond Felton, whose major fault is that he’s not Chris Paul or Deron Williams or Rajon Rondo. With the Knicks in Denver on Tuesday, the story of New York’s drooling interest in Carmelo Anthony is back in the news, but even some of the experts interviewed for those stories suggest the Knicks need a creative point guard more than a ball-stopping forward. That might be true, particularly with Amar’e Stoudemire signed long term as the team’s go-to inside scorer.This is not to put all the blame on Felton, it's an observation that now has become a tendency. It's not the turnovers, it's that combined with putting people in awkward situations. Again, I can't say this enough. When an offensive team gets the ball below the foul line it creates the inside out action. Billups did it all night. Often instead of attacking the paint Felton pulls up behind the FT line and makes an east to west pass that's easily defended. The first pass in the set is what stimulates the action. Felton did a tremendous job accelerating to the paint beyond the line and had probably his best second half of the season minus the missed FTs late.
But Felton is playing about as well as the Knicks could have reasonably expected. He’s shooting 44.6 percent from the floor (above his 41 percent career mark) and 37 percent from three-point range, which makes him one of New York’s best long-range shooters — and a rare Knick outperforming his career three-point percentage. And for all the hemming and hawing about Felton’s mediocrity on the pick-and-roll, the (very) early numbers on Synergy Stats have the Knicks ranked as an above-average team on that play. They rank fourth in points per possession on pick-and-rolls on which the ball-handler finishes the play and 14th on plays finished by the roll man. That’s not awful.
For what it’s worth, Synergy has the Knicks ranked in the bottom five in spot-up situations and in transition. I’m not sure how much of that you can blame on Felton, though his career-worst turnover rate isn’t helping. (And boy did the Knicks — and Felton– have some ugly turnovers in melting down against Houston over the weekend.)
Felton can be more aggressive in terms of getting deeper into the paint and causing defenders to react. That leads to layups and wide open kick outs that guys like Chandler and Gallinari have to make on the regular.