Raymond Felton Brings Back the New York Point Guard

Felton's passes are leading to Knicks revival

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images

    Raymond Felton grew up in South Carolina, went to North Carolina for college and spent the first five years of his career playing for the Charlotte Bobcats.

    All of that information leads to only one question, when did the Carolinas become part of New York City?

    We ask the question because watching Felton for the first 30 games of his Knicks career has made it impossible to believe that he hasn't been playing the point in our fair city since the dawn of time. Everything about the way he plays the game -- the teardrop hangers in the lane, the uptempo attacks on the hoop, the swaggering pull-up threes, the physical defense on the perimeter -- screams Brooklyn schoolyard. There's also the way he carries himself with a mix of supreme confidence and a fair amount of disgust that these fools on the other team dare challenge him.

    Just like Amar'e Stoudemire, it seems the Knicks got a player who was born to be in the Apple and one who is thriving now that he's finally playing here. That was on bold display during Saturday's victory over the Bulls. Felton outplayed the much more heralded Derrick Rose en route to the 103-95 victory. He finished with a meaty stat line of 20 points, 12 assists and five steals, the kind of night that's becoming totally routine this season. On Wednesday night, Felton did the same thing to young stud Russell Westbrook and he's been doing it to just about every point guard who crosses his path this season. 

    Felton has dished out 10 or more assists in each of the last six games, three games shy of the franchise record, and he's already had nine games of 20 points and 10 assists this season to go with 15 total double-doubles. Stoudemire has earned all the praise thrown his way thus far and his contributions have been off the charts, but Felton has really transformed this team. He's the point guard Mike D'Antoni needs to make his offense hum and he's lifting every boat on the ocean as a result.

    When Felton came to town, there were plenty of people waiting until this time of year because the Knicks would potentially be able to trade him in a deal for Chris Paul. Paul's great, but could he really play that much better than Felton has played this season? It's doubtful and that makes the Knicks future all the more interesting because they may have stumbled into the second star they needed when they thought they were simply grabbing a place holder.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.