Blog Entry

Blazers G Felton: McMillan doesn't believe in me

Posted on: February 17, 2012 3:48 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 4:22 pm
Raymon Felton said he isn't feeling his coach's trust. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

An ugly performance in an ugly game got even uglier when it came time for the post-game explanation.

The Portland Trail Blazers lost to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night, 74-71, in the definition of a "lockout game," and Blazers guard Raymond Felton was the worst of the worst. He shot 0-for-7 and committed five turnovers, playing just 24 minutes as coach Nate McMillan opted to sit him during the final stretches of the game.

It was arguably the low point of what has been a putrid first season in Portland for Felton, and his growing dissatisfaction came to the surface after the loss, according to
“I know I'm struggling, but it's hard to perform the way you know how when you know they don't have confidence in you,” Felton told “Never in my days playing basketball, have I felt like a coach wasn't confident in my abilities. It's hard to play knowing that. Coming in and out of games is throwing my rhythm off, but it's something that I'll get through."

“Tonight was one of those nights where it was hard to get into the game knowing every mistake I made would be magnified,” Felton said. “It's to the point where the only person I could turn to was my mom."
These aren't the first words reflecting a developing rift between point guard and coach. In statements made to the Portland Tribune earlier this week, Felton compared McMillan to New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, pointing out that players seem to perform better in D'Antoni's system. Felton, of course, played some of his best basketball in New York prior to the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster trade last season that landed him in Denver, who eventually traded him on to the Blazers on the night of the 2011 NBA Draft. The underlying implication from those comments, it seemed, was that McMillan's system was not as suited to producing success for Felton.

The real cause for Felton's frustration and isolation isn't complicated: by virtually every important measure he's having a terrible season. He's averaging a career-low 9.9 points per game, he's shooting a career-low 36.0 percent from the field, he's shooting a career-low 20.6 percent from beyond the arc, he's averaging 6.3 assists (the fewest since his rookie season). According to, his turnover rate is a career-worst 19.46 and, according to Basketball-Reference, he's attempted the most shots from 26 feet and out without making a single one (17) in the NBA this season.

Put it all together and you have one of the league's least effective players who actually gets big minutes. Felton has started every game so far for the Blazers this season, averaging 32.8 minutes per game. Felton's PER is 10.06, which places him as the No. 52 overall point guard in the league. Los Angeles Lakers point guard Derek Fisher is the only starting point guard with a lower PER than Felton, and he plays seven fewer minutes per game.

Taking this a step further, there isn't a single other NBA player averaging more than 30 minutes per game with a PER lower than Felton's. Indeed, he's one of just three players -- along with New York Knicks rookie guard Iman Shumpert and Detroit Pistons rookie guard Brandon Knight -- to average at least 30 minutes per game while producing a PER of less than 11.

If math isn't you're thing, the takeaway point here is this: through Portland's first 31 games, nearly half the season, Felton is playing at the absolute bottom of the barrel. And, the related point: he's had plenty of opportunities. Citing a coach's lack of confidence after that stretch of play -- and that much playing time -- is just about the most obvious buck-passing imaginable.

The Blazers must now decide whether to turn over the starting point guard duties to reserve guard Jamal Crawford, a score-first two guard by nature, or simply continue to limit Felton's minutes even further. With the All-Star break less than a week away and the trade deadline not far beyond that, there's no question they have to be fully exploring other options, even if that means over-paying for a stopgap solution. Playing in the NBA's toughest division, the Northwest, the Blazers are going to battle night in and night out with the Division's ninth best point guard as their starter. That's not a formula for a fringe playoff team that considered itself a contender earlier this season and wants badly to make a push.

The worst part of this situation is that there is no full-time GM to step in and smooth this one out. The Blazers continue to operate with a front office that includes president Larry Miller and Acting GM Chad Buchanan, after owner Paul Allen abruptly fired former GM Rich Cho last May. There's no full-time GM to back Felton in public. There's no full-time GM to act as intermediary between Felton and McMillan. There's no full-time GM to make the big-picture decision of how and when it's the right time to move on. There's not even a full-time GM to credibly explain the team's stance on McMillan, who is hearing some hot seat talk percolating with his team going 2-5 over their last seven games.

For everyone involved, the All-Star break can't come soon enough.

Since: Apr 11, 2007
Posted on: February 21, 2012 3:15 pm

Blazers G Felton: McMillan doesn't believe in me

While I do not think that Raymond Felton is "Garbage" as some of you insist, I do think that it is time to put up or shut up, at least a little. Felton's scoring is down, his assists are down, his turnovers are up. A dominate point gaurd has some swagger to their step, I see none of that in Felton, not anymore. I do believe that some of this is coaching, but coaching does not have anything to do with making shots or poor passing choices. Portland fans are not generally the fickle type, if you give the effort (even if the results are not immediately apparent) they usually will still adore you and cheer when you come in the game, I should know, I'm a season ticket holder. I do not cheer for Felton, because he has not given that effort, I do not see him strtching himself, he has become complacent, because no one is really pushing him for that job, Nolan smith is a very long way from becomming a point guard in the NBA. Wesley Mathews is not having a great season either, but you see him diving for balls EVERY GAME, he defends like he is keeping the demons away, his every game is sprinkled liberally with "Hustle plays" I see none from Felton, but I see that he could do it, it's just up to him when and IF he does......

Since: Sep 4, 2007
Posted on: February 18, 2012 12:07 pm

Blazers G Felton: McMillan doesn't believe in me

Ready for the Lin Sweepstakes.

Mathews is another guy that is having a bad year.  The Portland backcourt is what is holding this team back. 

Since: Mar 29, 2008
Posted on: February 18, 2012 11:38 am

Blazers G Felton: McMillan doesn't believe in me

Hey Raymon, here's a qaurter so you can call someone who cares. It's time to take responsibility for your own play. This is the NBA, not pee wee basketball. You need to look in the mirror (one big arse mirror) and and take accountability. If you can't step it up in this league, someone else will be right behind you to take your place. Now man up and play ball like its your job.

Since: Feb 17, 2012
Posted on: February 18, 2012 10:23 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Jan 13, 2011
Posted on: February 18, 2012 4:57 am

Blazers G Felton: McMillan doesn't believe in me

As an avid Blazer fan, I can atest to the fact that Felton has been given more than enough time to get his act together. For whatever reason it hasn't worked out and the Blazers should be looking to trade him. That said, McMillan hasn't been willing to give Nolan Smith the time to develop into a starting point guard. That Felton isn't the right point guard is only half the problem. The other half is that McMillan is so risk averse that he won't make a change and let his young players develop. Crawford is not a pont guard, and playing him there takes a way from his strengths. Playing Smith will give the Blazers a chance to see if he can handle the position. Giving Smith a few minutes here and there only serves to put pressure on him to produce. Let him play a while to see if he has what it takes. If not, or even if, make the trade.

Since: Jan 24, 2011
Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:44 pm


If you're good enough to start, then you should be better off the bench.  Right Jameer?  Oooops, I mean Ray.

Days like these I love me some Carlisle-

"If you don't play well, your @$$ gonna be sittin!"

Since: Dec 28, 2008
Posted on: February 17, 2012 6:19 pm

Blazers G Felton: McMillan doesn't believe in me

Felton got fat sitting on Denvers bench last year he is a shell of himself as he let his self go...  He looks like he swallowed a beach ball when he came in to play for Portland.   Blazers need a real PG and Crawford is a SG on a Point Guard...  Try and trade felton for maybe some scrubs from the Bobcats is all I can think of or bring back Patty Mills from down under....

Since: Feb 17, 2012
Posted on: February 17, 2012 6:13 pm

Blazers G Felton: McMillan doesn't believe in me

The only reason why Felton became relevant again was because he was playing in d'antoni's system with the knicks.

Since: May 23, 2007
Posted on: February 17, 2012 6:03 pm

Blazers G Felton: McMillan doesn't believe in me

Ray Fatton you are a COMPLETE JOKE!!! Are you kidding me? You’re blaming your atrocious play on the coach? REALLY??? McMillan is about the ONLY one in Portland that still believes in you… and he  is about to get ran out of town for not benching your overweight arse 2 weeks
ago!!!  You took 7 shots last night… you hit NOTHING, You took 17 shots the night before, and only hit 4, you took 15 shots Tuesday night you hit 4…  You couldn’t even hit the ground if it wasn’t for gravity!!! PULEEEEZ PUT DOWN THE CHEESBURGERS, GET IN SHAPE AND PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ARSE BECAUSE IT WONT BE FUN SITTING ON YOUR OWN HEAD WHILE YOUR RIDING THE BENCH!!!

Since: Jul 26, 2009
Posted on: February 17, 2012 5:40 pm

Blazers G Felton: McMillan doesn't believe in me

Felton can say all he wants but his play is terrible. I won't be surprised if he is moved before the deadline. Nate will be gone next year after a GM is hired.

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