Saturday, September 22, 2012
Knicks' dynamic position duo at point guard
By Jared Zwerling
Of course, the most talked-about Knicks duo is Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. But the team features two other duos -- which are based on the same position -- and they're arguably the most dynamic in the NBA this season.
Felton is only two seasons removed from his best one, which happened to be with the Knicks in the first half of 2010-11, when he averaged 17.1 points and 9.0 assists per game. Regarding Kidd, how many teams can say they have a future Hall of Fame point guard coming off the bench? The Knicks are the only one that can boast that.
As for Chandler and Camby, the former is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, and the latter is also a DPOY who at 15 to 25 minutes per game should be just as good as when he won the award five years ago.
With these four players, along with Anthony, Stoudemire and the rest of the deep and seasoned squad, the Knicks are ready to make major noise.
"The Knicks, to me, are a team that's going to contend in the East," a veteran NBA advance scout told ESPNNewYork.com. "I think they're going to be one of the top four teams in the East, and I think they can push any time in the East going into the playoffs. If they're healthy, they can even push Miami and Boston."
Here's Part 1, featuring three key qualities of the floor generals:
1. Consistency: This is the biggest thing the Knicks were missing all last season from the point-guard spot. After amnestying Chauncey Billups, they were left with a big question mark -- and from Toney Douglas to Iman Shumpert to Mike Bibby to Jeremy Lin to Baron Davis, there was never a long-term luxury. Now with Felton in the starting five and Kidd in the second unit, the Knicks will be able to prevent drop-offs in production -- even on defense. Felton has a career steals average of 1.4, and Kidd's at 1.9. "As far as them getting along, I don't think there should be much trouble," the scout said. "Raymond just needs to come back in shape and play at a high level."
2. Experience: Felton has seven years in the league under his belt, and he's played in two postseasons (2010 and '11). As for Kidd, we all know he's the elder statesman of point guards. 18 years, 146 playoff games, two Finals appearances (2002 and '03 as a New Jersey Net) and one championship (2011 with Chandler as a Maverick). Kidd is especially good at understanding every player's tendencies. "He's such a cerebral player," said the scout, who likened a unique ability he has to Steve Nash and Chris Paul, where he's able to predict the sweet spot a teammate wants the ball and then deliver a pass right to their designated hands set-up. The scout shared a story that when Kidd first got to the Nets in 2001, he went up to every guy on the team and asked them where they prefer to shoot on the court, so he could allow them to catch the ball and go right up with it in a catch-and-shoot situation. In the NBA, every second counts, and Kidd won't waste any of them.
3. Versatility: Felton and Kidd can play in the backcourt together because of an underrated aspect of Kidd's game. While you think of his passing, rebounding and triple-doubles, you sometimes forget he's third all-time in NBA history in 3-pointers made (1,874), right behind Ray Allen and Reggie Miller. For that reason, Kidd can play off of the ball, which he did in bursts in Dallas.