Monday, October 8, 2012
Melo: Confident in Felton
By Ian Begley
GREENBURGH N.Y. -- Carmelo Anthony's feeling pretty comfortable with Ray Felton at point guard so far.
"It's his show. The ball is in his hands. He gets the ball, we space out, we do what we have to do," Anthony said after the Knicks scrimmage on Monday. "It makes things a lot more easier out there."
Last season, with the Knicks point guard situation unsettled at first and then when Jeremy Lin took over, Anthony was asked at times to bring the ball up the floor and get the Knicks into their offense.
That won't be the case this year, as long as Felton and veteran backup Jason Kidd stay healthy.
"It settles everything down for myself (and) for everybody," Anthony said, noting that he and his teammates can operate where they are most comfortable. "They can be that much (more) effective rather than me trying to bring the ball up the court, make a play for my teammates [or] for myself, and try to do everything. I'd rather just play off of Raymond and do what I've got to do and do what I do best."
The Knicks acquired Felton over the summer after deciding not to match Houston's three-year $25.1 million offer sheet to Jeremy Lin.
Tyson Chandler said over the weekend that he thinks the duo of Felton and veteran backup Jason Kidd will make it easier on the front line of Anthony, himself and Amare Stoudemire.
He noted that Lin, because of his lack of experience, wasn't as effective at getting the Knicks in the proper spots to be effective.
"Jeremy was a young point guard who was inexperienced, who brought a great light to the organization. But as far as being able to run the offense and putting players in the right position he just wasn't there. We got some veteran point guards that are capable of doing that," Chandler told reporters on Friday.
Prior to Lin's ascent, the Knicks struggled to find a capable playmaker. Toney Douglas was too inexperienced and Baron Davis was injured.
This year, with a healthy Felton and Kidd playing from the first day of training camp, things are different, according to Chandler.
"The intensity is way up and also there's also calmness when we're coming downcourt, with the point guards getting things under control and making sure we get good shots every possession," Chandler said.
"I think the toughest thing last year was our best players were at the 3, 4 and 5 spots with nobody really to get them the ball in the right places ... This year, with the additions that we got at [point guard], Melo can play his natural role and be a finisher and Amare can do the same thing."
The Knicks, of course, are hoping that Felton can return to the form that he showed in New York in 2010-2011. He averaged 17 points and nine assists per game before being dealt to Denver in the blockbuster trade that brought Anthony to the Knicks.
Felton is coming off of a rough year in Portland in which he was out of shape at the beginning of training camp and struggled to regain form throughout the year. He has vowed to bounce back, saying earlier this month that he's playing this season with a 'big, big' chip on his shoulder.
NO RASHEED:Rasheed Wallace did not participate in the team scrimmage on Monday. It is unclear when the 38-year-old will take the floor for the Knicks. He has not scrimmaged since signing with the team last Wednesday. He did some conditioning work on the side with boxing gloves on Monday.
"We’re still monitoring him and training him off the floor. Eventually he’ll be ready to go," Woodson said.
On the boxing workout, Woodson said, "It’s all geared for conditioning. These guys do a lot of different things around here that we didn’t do when we came up the old-school way. It’s all conditioning work to better the player. Eventually we’ll get him out on the floor ready to play."
NO PF FOR MELO? Anthony had one of the best stretches of his career while playing power forward with Amare Stoudemire sidelined with an injury at the end of last season. He earned Player of the Month honors in April thanks to scoring averages of 29.8 points per game on 49.4 percent shooting. But Anthony said on Monday that, if it's up to him, he'd rather stay at small forward.
"Right now, we have guys in that position. We want to keep it like that," Anthony said. "I'd rather play my natural position then go down there and play the 4, the 5 and things that I don't really want to do. So with the guys that we have now, I find that we're definitely that much more effective."
THOMPSON STARTS AT SG:Mychel Thompson started at shooting guard with the first team on Monday. J.R. Smith was with the second team. Smith said on Friday that he hopes to start this season. He will likely be battling with injured shooting guard Ronnie Brewer for the starting spot.