I’ve argued various things about Raymond Felton in this space. Felton shoots to much, he needs to go to the basket more, he has been facilitating Tyson Chandler’s offensive game to a remarkable extent, he single-handedly won the second Miami game. What’s the common denominator? He’s been a huge part of this Knicks team.
Well, for the next 4-to-6 weeks, he won’t be. Surgery on his fractured pinky will keep him out of action for that long, he estimated after the Knicks’ 99-97 win against the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night.
This is actually a blessing, by the way. It forces him to heal, not only that injury, but the stress fractures in both hands that affected his shooting accuracy greatly, but alas, not his shooting frequency at all. Whatever Felton’s limitations are healthy, it is clear they pale in comparisons to a compromised Felton. Getting him back, healthy, by February should only be a positive for a Knicks team with their eyes on May.
But no Felton means a bunch of other things, too. Here’s a rundown:
Jason Kidd will be playing more, and more at point guard. He’s the guy who can facilitate the low-turnover, slow-paced Knicks attack. His ability to avoid mistakes is the primary reason, especially in comparison to Pablo Prigioni, who we’ll get to in a moment. But Kidd will also need to play more minutes, and more high-stress minutes. Running the team is far different than spending time on the court as designated shooter and occasional passer. Kidd is 39; this is something to watch.
Pablo Prigioni will also be playing more. The reason he hasn’t, as I pointed out on Twitter last night, is his propensity for turnovers. Of guards who have played 300 minutes, Prigioni has the second-highest turnover rate in the league, at 27.3 percent. Kidd is at 12.7. Felton is at 12.1. Considering how much of the Knicks’ offense is predicated on few turnovers (it ain’t the rebounding, folks), the more Prigioni is in the game providing empty possessions, the more compromised that attack will be.
Steve Novak will need to shoot more, with Kidd off on other assignments. Alas, the lack of Kidd will allow perimeter defenses to focus on Novak more, probably limiting his shot attempts.
James White will need to play more effectively at the shooting guard position, and avoid awful late-game fouls like the one in the final minute last night that gave the Suns a pair of free throws and a 97-95 lead.
Chris Copeland is shooting 11-for-23 from three this season. The Knicks are about to find out if that’s a fluke.
TBA from the D-League, or free agency, sure ought to be signed. The Knicks have two point guards, one is 39, the other is 35. Some roster insurance makes sense right now. And a year ago this week, the Knicks signed just such a player: Jeremy Lin.