Blog Entry

Reports: Blazers bench Raymond Felton

Posted on: February 21, 2012 3:44 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 3:55 pm
Raymon Felton is being benched in Portland. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

The writing has been on the wall, and now the move has finally been made. 

The Oregonian reported on Tuesday that Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan has elected to bench point guard Raymond Felton and will replace him in the starting lineup with Jamal Crawford. confirmed the report, and caught Felton's less than enthusiastic response to his demotion.
“He (Nate McMillan) called me this morning and told me we got to have consistency from that position and that a 7-point quarter was unacceptable,” Felton told “I'm not just going to blame myself for that first quarter. We're a team. We win together, we lose together.”
Felton's starting job has been in question for some time. As noted last week, he has struggled both on and off the court. He's averaging a career-low 10.0 points per game, he's shooting a career-low 37.1 percent from the field, he's shooting a career-low 22.9 percent from beyond the arc, he's averaging 6.3 assists (the fewest since his rookie season) and, according to, his turnover rate is at a career-worst level.

Meanwhile, the Blazers are 5-7 in February and scored just seven points in the first quarter of a Monday night loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. This after a Thursday night loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in which Felton shot 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.

Following that game, Felton said he didn't feel that McMillan trusted him.  

Those comments, coupled with Tuesday's insinuation that he is being blamed for Portland's poor performance against the Lakers, are not going to play well for McMillan, who told reporters on Saturday that the disagreement between Felton and himself had been resolved. Portland's brass also won't take too wel to the public nature of the comments, as the organization has long advocated an in-house solution to resolving any grievances.

The biggest issue here is that Felton still doesn't seem to have come to terms with the reality of his poor play. He's been one of, if not the least, effective players in the NBA playing 30+ minutes per night. His player efficiency rating is currently that of an average back-up point guard, not a surefire starter. His minutes and role had to be reduced. There's simply no way around it until he demonstrates he can return to being a far more effective player.

Crawford, a score-first two guard by nature, is not a likely panacea, although he has run Portland's offense somewhat effectively this season and is capable of running a nice two-man with forward LaMarcus Aldridge. He's certainly not a long-term solution for a team with aspirations of playoff success.
It sounds like a broken record, but the All-Star break can't come soon enough for Felton and the Blazers. You can probably say the same thing about the upcoming trade season.

Since: Feb 13, 2012
Posted on: February 23, 2012 2:11 am

Reports: Blazers bench Raymond Felton

Raymond playing bad is not the blazer downfall it is obviously the coach.  I think everyone was wondering why it was taking so long for Nate to bench Felton but then again we all wondered why Batum was not starting or averaging more than 24 minutes a game.  Blazer fans can't tell you how many times Nate has taken Batum out when he was on fire.  Nate is so stubborn he always wants it his way, 8 man rotation all year long and wearing out your players while the bench players don't develop.  That's why Popovich is such a great coach, he looks at the whole picture!!!!!  Nate shoots a couple of bullets in every battle hoping to hit while Pop unloads the whole clip. Why even draft anyone if you aren't gonna play them.  Blazers should trade every draft pick until Nate is gone because they are useless picks.

Since: Dec 20, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2012 12:25 am

Reports: Blazers bench Raymond Felton

Yeah Portland is not gonna keep Felton after this season, its becoming obvious. Felton has a problem with becoming lethargic in about 50% of the games he plays in.  I remember him with the Knicks, he played better than he is now at the time but it was frustrating watching him half asleep on the court every other game.

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: February 21, 2012 10:47 pm

Reports: Blazers bench Raymond Felton

Brandon Roy crawling down the court would be a more effective point.  Greg Oden in a bodycast/hospital bed could shoot a better percentage.  Bill Walton probably has quicker moves.  Sam Bowie could shoot a better 3-pt percentage.  Arvyedis Sabonis has more hang time than this guy.  

In the long sad history of the Blazers, we don't need guys who just can't play because they are out of shape.  Even Duckworth was effective as a fatty.


Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 21, 2012 10:22 pm

Reports: Blazers bench Raymond Felton

As a Nuggets fan, I can't say I'm really surprised by this.  Felton thought he should have been the starter in Denver even though Ty Lawson is blossoming into a fine young PG.  Felton, by contrast, shoots too much even though he isn't a great shooter and can be careless with the ball at times.  Even so, George Karl found a way to get them both on the court at the same time, and the Nuggets had a lot of success with the 2-point guard look.  That resulted in Felton getting 30+ minutes a night, yet he still wasn't happy. 

He seems incapable of looking at himself and realizing he's not an elite point guard and never will be.  I understand team leaders need to be confident in their abilities in order to be successful, but I think they also need to be realistic and understand their strengths and weaknesses.  (Oddly enough, the man Felton was traded for, Andre Miller, also seems to think he should be starting, but at least he's more of a distributor than Felton.)  Felton is really the type of PG guard find starting on average teams, and is a the type of quality backup you find on a top team.  (And at this point, that's true of Miller as well.) 

The question is, is he willing to go to a playoff team and take a role, or will he insist on being traded to a mediocre team where he can start?  I have to think there will be a market for him come the trade deadline, but the Blazers aren't likely to reap much of a reward for him, particularly if he keeps stinking up the joint.

Since: Jan 13, 2011
Posted on: February 21, 2012 7:06 pm

Reports: Blazers bench Raymond Felton

I watched the Laker/Blazers game and while everyone on the Blazers was cold in the 1st quarter, Felton had at least 4 turnovers that I counted in that quarter alone. So, no, it's not all on him, but he certainly made a major contribution to the terrible play of the Blazers to start the game. I'm sure Felton's immensely frustrated with is own play, but to deny the fact that he's really stinking it up, or to blame it on anyone else is absurd. Of course McMillan has no confidence in him. He's playing terribly and has been throughout most of the season. I'd have benched him long ago. I'd rather develop a young player who is going to make mistakes but has a chance to improve and learn the game, than to continue to play a player whose game is only getting worse.

I think it would be in the Blazer's interest to trade him and get another point guard in there. Not only is Felton unable to get his game together on the court, but he's beginning to be a distraction off the court. The Blazers as a team have great chemistry, which doesn't always happen in the NBA. It would serve the Blazers well to trade Felton before they lose that. 

That said, they'd also be well served to get a different coach in there as well, because while McMillan may heve little bearing on Felton's poor play, he has been less than stellar as a coach this year. 

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