Thursday, July 19, 2012
It's Time to Get to Know Raymond Felton & Jason Kidd
"Linsanity" has come to a close in the Big Apple. Jeremy Lin is no longer a member of the New York Knicks' organization.
Now that you've had time to weep and wipe your tears away, let us focus on much more positive things. Though Lin is indeed gone from the equation, the Knicks already have two worthy point guards more than capable of filling the void.
The time is now for fans to put their faith in both Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd. While it's devastating to lose a player like Lin, largely in part due to his remarkable story, the Knicks are still in a very good position to move forward and win now.
Both point guards arrive in the Big Apple at very interesting points in their careers. Likely to be named New York's starting floor general, Felton returns to the Knicks following an unexpected end to his first tenure. Just as Felton's star was shining brightest, the seven-year NBA veteran was shipped to Denver as part of the Carmelo Anthony trade.
Since averaging 17.1 points and 9.0 assists through 54 contests during the 2010-11 season with the Knicks, the last season and a half (with the Nuggets and Blazers, respectively), has been a bumpy ride for Felton. He failed to earn a starting role in Denver, and subsequently had trouble building consistency as he struggled with conditioning in Portland. "Rip City" clearly was not where Felton wanted to be, as recent pictures of the North Carolina product suggest he's far from being in ideal playing shape.
But sufficient motivation goes a long way. Felton is now part of a team that is prepared to make a run at an NBA title, and much of their fate rests on his shoulders. Returning to New York for a chance to finish what he started should help Felton get into the right state of mind. Knowing he now has a shot at redemption, the guard can find motivation in the success he and Amar'e Stoudemire had in the pick & roll, elevating the play of them both like never before.
Motivation happens to be exactly what lured Kidd to the Big Apple. Hungry for a second championship trophy of his own, the Hall of Fame bound point guard made a smart move by joining what stands to be the most competitive team the Knicks will put on the floor in years.
Though Kidd is coming off a season in which he averaged career lows in both points (6.2) and assists (5.5), he still put up impressive numbers during the postseason. By averaging 11.5 points. 6 rebounds, and 6 assists per game, he proved there's still enough left in the tank to allow him to come up clutch in big moments. Taking a secondary role, to Felton, should help Kidd stay fresh for when the Knicks need him most.
With ringing endorsements from the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith, and Stoudemire flowing in, it's safe to say the Knicks are more than confident in the abilities of their new point guards. A return to greatness is within the team's grasp.
The players are confident and ready to excel with both Felton and Kidd, and now it's the fans' turn to make the adjustment. Jeremy Lin's tenure in New York City may be all but a memory now, but the future remains bright for the Knicks.