Thursday, March 6, 2014
Woody: Knicks better if Ray played OK
By Ian Begley
At this juncture in the season, it's pretty pointless to play the "what if" game with the Knicks.
But, when prodded, Mike Woodson went down that road on Thursday.
In an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show" Woodson was asked if the Knicks' season would have been different if Raymond Felton played at a high level all year.
"It would have been different. We would have been in a better position than we’re in now. There’s no doubt about that. But it’s not just Raymond," Woodson said.
Felton's play has been inconsistent for much of the 2013-'14 campaign. He missed 16 games due to various injuries, which impacted his rhythm, and he's struggled at times with his shot.
More recently, Felton's play has been impacted by an off-the-court issue. The point guard was arraigned and charged last week with two weapons-related felonies. In the four games following his arraignment, Felton shot just 22 percent from the field.
On the season, Felton is scoring 10.1 points per game, 3.8 points fewer than last season, and hitting just 39 percent of his shots.
But the 29-year-old broke out on Wednesday, scoring 18 points and handing out eight assists in a win over Minnesota. So Woodson agreed with the idea presented by Ruocco that the Knicks' season would be different if Felton had played every night like he did against Minnesota.
The Knicks are 14-9 when Felton scores in double figures, so Woodson has a point.
The coach said on Thursday that he recently considered limiting Felton's minutes because it was clear Felton was having a tough time dealing with the arrest.
"His thing was, 'Hey coach, this is my only out ... I have nowhere else to go, basketball is my out,'" Woodson said. "I understand that and as a coach I said, 'Hey listen. I’m going to hang in there and these are the things I expect you to do.' I thought he came out and handled it very well last night."