Who's better for the Knicks: Lin or Felton?



Begley By Ian Begley

Let's take money, marketing, ticket sales, merchandising and the rest of it out of the equation.

Let's just take a look at the numbers.

Jeremy Lin, 23, averaged 14.6 points per game and 6.2 assists in 35 games last year.

Raymond Felton, 28, is coming off a tough season in Portland in which he scored 11.5 points and handed out 6.5 assists.

On its face, that comparison isn't very alarming.

But if you look deeper into it, it becomes clear that Lin is the superior option. Just check out some of the stats that Ryan Feldman of ESPN Stats & Information put together on Sunday:

SHOOTING: Lin shot the third-highest percentage (47.9) off the dribble of the 102 players who attempted at least 90 jumpers off the bounce. Felton ranked 85th in such situations.

ISOLATION: Lin ranked third in points per play on isolation among players with at least 75 iso plays. Felton? He ranked 68th.

PICK-AND-ROLLS: Lin got to the line three times more often than Felton in pick-and-rolls.

Now, if Felton can return to the form he showed in New York two seasons ago, these numbers are less relevant. But that's no sure thing.

So take the emotion out of the equation. Take the marketing out of the equation. Take Linsanity out of the equation.

You're left with the bottom line, which is this: The numbers tell you that Lin is the better option.


Mazzeo By Mike Mazzeo

Raymond Felton might not have the marketing power that Jeremy Lin has, but he's proven and more cost-efficient, which makes him the better option at point guard for the New York Knicks moving forward.

Plus, the 28-year-old North Carolina product has played in New York before, which makes for a seamless transition.

In 54 games with the Knicks in 2010-11 before he was traded for Chauncey Billups, Felton, who formed a nearly unstoppable pick-and-roll tandem with Amare Stoudemire, averaged a career-best 17.1 points and nine assists on 42.3 percent shooting.

Felton's three-year, $10 million contract is a lot cheaper than Lin's expected three-year, $25 million deal, and unlike Lin, Felton won't be making almost $15 million in Year 3.

He also has 478 career starts under his belt; Lin has 25.

Maybe Felton won't ever be a superstar, but he's a solid veteran NBA point guard, and you pretty much know what you're going to get from him, assuming he gets back into shape.

Lin has the potential to be great. At the same time, as long as Carmelo Anthony is on the Knicks' roster, it would be tough for them to mesh together on the court.

Felton makes more sense from financial and logistical standpoints.

Knicks fans may be sad to see Lin go -- if various reports of his departure prove accurate -- but by going with Felton over him, the franchise is making the proper decision.