Felton sat down with ESPNNewYork.com and was asked several questions regarding the status of the Knicks—who to draft, who to sign in free agency, etc. When asked about his offseason training habits, Felton said that he is "going to work ten times harder because I see what we can do." Later on in the same response, he said something even more eye-popping: "I see that we can win a championship with this type of team, so that's going to fuel me to work even harder."
This should be great news for Knicks fans. Felton, the point guard and floor general, has the confidence in his teammates to win games and get to the NBA Finals. This doesn't seem too farfetched of an idea, either. The Knicks certainly are not a bad team, so it's feasible that they could win a championship within the coming years if they draft correctly and make smart moves via free agency.
With Carmelo Anthony heading the offensive charge and former Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler manning the paint, the Knicks are set up to play well both offensively and defensively. Throw in above average role players like J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Amar'e Stoudemire and Felton, and you've got yourself a recipe for success.
The only thing that New York needs to work on is depth. Jason Kidd's retirement leaves a hole at reserve point guard that should be filled through the draft. Pablo Prigioni is a solid reserve but, at 36 years old, his body and performance could give up on him at any time.
Steve Novak is a streaky shooter and doesn't get much playing time under Mike Woodson, Chris Copeland is a young player that has the potential to improve and Kenyon Martin and Marcus Camby are players in the twilight of their respective careers. The Knicks need to get younger in order to constantly put fresh legs on the court.
Felton's most definitely right, though. The Knicks are a championship-caliber team. The core they have in place is a strong one and ranks them amongst the top teams in the Eastern Conference. With a little tinkering to the bench, the Knicks could take the next step.
They don't have much payroll flexibility this offseason, so bringing in a big-name free agent is out of the question. Low-cost signings on one-year contracts would fit the team's plans. Where the Knicks could really improve is in the draft. Anthony is certainly capable of shouldering the offensive load, but drafting a young volume scorer could give the Knicks and nice option off the bench.
With the No. 24 pick in the draft, the Knicks have the ability to draft a future impact scorer. Having a rookie like that on next year's team could be the difference between a trip to the Finals or another second-round loss.
Felton's confidence in his teammates should be a sign of good things to come for the Knicks. Playing with confidence is essential in a rhythm game like basketball, and Felton seems primed to do whatever he needs to for his team to win. Next season should be an interesting one with the expectations of improvement that Felton has just placed upon them.Tags: Basketball, Carmelo Anthony, Iman Shumpert, Jason Kidd, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Raymond Felton, Steve Novak, Tyson Chandler