A Big Distraction
Raymond Felton isn’t exactly that sleek player that he used to be. Once a dominant player at the collegiate level who led the North Carolina Tar Heels to a National Championship in 2005, Felton has packed on a few extra pounds since coming to the NBA.
Drafted in 2005 by the Charlotte Bobcats with the 5th pick in the NBA Draft, he actually performed admirably during his years in Charlotte (2005-2010), with his season totals always seeing him average around 12-14 points per game.
Not really becoming that dominant player in Charlotte, Felton was picked up by the New York Knicks in 2010 as a free agent, a move that really seemed to revitalize his career. Averaging 17.1 points per game and 9 assists per game with the Knicks, Felton revitalized himself in New York and quickly became a fan favorite.
He would be traded to Denver later that season, however, and his play immediately dropped off.
Dissatisfied with being a bench player, Felton was eventually traded to the Portland Trail Blazers for Andre Miller and the No. 26 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
The Blazers also lost Rudy Fernandez and the rights to Petteri Koponen.
Whether it was his temper or frustration with how his last season ended, Felton came to the Blazers overweight and with a temper, something that didn’t mesh well with former head coach Nate McMillan. Never seeing eye-to-eye with one another, the two constantly spat while the team, and Felton, struggled.
And now that Felton has once again seen a resurgence since returning to the Knicks, McMillan, let go in March of 2012 by the Blazers, talked to Jared Zwerling of ESPNNY about Felton’s time in Portland.
“What he’s doing now is what we felt he was always capable of doing for us,” said McMillan in the inverview. “He just didn’t have that kind of year.”
Offered McMillan on Felton’s weight with the Blazers.
“I think [his weight] had a direct impact on how well he played. When you’re not conditioned to play, then you’re going to struggle, you’re going to turn the ball over…he had picked up some weight, as he told me, and we were trying to work on him moving that weight during the season.”
Weight and overall effort being a big issue for Felton throughout his time with the Blazers, the fans never really embraced him and actually clashed with him from time to time.
And who’s to blame them?
Here’s this once heralded NBA pick coming into camp overweight and out-of-shape after your team had sacrificed some decent players for him.
To be paid all that money to spend money on cupcakes and figuring out what else to stuff in your face isn’t exactly going to earn you a lot of love when you are a professional athlete.
There’s a certain physical standard that Felton never lived up to when he was with the Blazers, and though it’s not that nice to root against players who are having rebound season, here’s to hoping Felton channels his inner-2011/2012 and guzzles a few jelly doughnuts before tonight’s game.