A major knock on Raymond Felton throughout his NBA career has been his lack of conditioning. He's had a hard time keeping his starting job with other squads in the past as a result of it. Just look at his time in Denver and Portland as proof of that. In fact, even his time in New York hasn't been without controversy. Not only was Mike Woodson forced to use a two-point guard system but Pablo Prigioni was the point guard on the floor at the end of games during the end of the season. However, Felton is not only claiming he's lost weight this off-season but that he's in the best shape of his career heading into next season hoping to keep his job — which is great New York Knicks News.
Raymond Felton may claim to love the changes made to the New York Knicks roster this off-season but you'd be mistaken if you didn't recognize how those changes also put pressure on Felton to improve. Felton made sure to put in significant work this off-season in order to be ready for next season.
Felton hired Keith Veney, a Washington D.C.-based trainer, to help improve his conditioning. As a result, Felton claims to have lost about 15 pounds since the end of last season. If those claims are accurate, he should be down to 197 pounds from last season's 212.
Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork reports the changes in Felton's physique should help his play and give him some much needed added speed.
"I was quick before, but if you take off 15 pounds, you can be that much quicker," Felton said Sunday at a Big Brothers-Big Sisters New York City event at St. John's.
Felton will now be in better shape to push the tempo and take advantage of his teammates skills like newly acquired Andrea Bargnani who thrives as a trailer on fast breaks and behind the three-point line.
"I'll push it right down the court … if I don't have anything, I know I got him," Felton said.
Of course, there's also the possibility that Woodson uses his two-point guard lineup again next season with Felton next to Prigioni or Beno Udrih. The fact that the Knicks can put a lot of different looks out on the floor excites Felton.
"I'm pretty sure we will go to it sometimes. Who knows how the starting lineup will go? We can go big this year, we can go small. We can go to a variety of lineups. We can start Metta World Peace, we can start Bargnani. We're going to be alright."
Hopefully this means that weight won't be an issue for Felton next season. He was clearly out of shape coming out of the NBA lockout during his lone season in Portland.
While his weight wasn't considered an issue last season he was very clearly out of shape last off-season. Pictures of Felton and his bulging mid-section circulated the internet with light speed. However, to his credit Felton was able to shed the extra pounds before his second tour in New York began.
Weight is an issue for many people, Felton is just one of them. He can claim he's only been out of shape that one time when he didn't expect the lockout to end but that's just not accurate. The fact is, his weight and off-season work ethic has always been an issue.
There's really no excuse that it took eight full NBA seasons before Felton decided to take his career and health into his own hands and get some help shedding weight. Perhaps the extra speed will help Felton on the defensive end. He was quick to talk about the offensive impact of his off-season regiment but he can play offense just fine.
Defensively, Felton is one of the worst point guards in the NBA. In fact, he and Steve Nash probably compete every season for the worst defensive starting point guard in the league. While losing 15 pounds won't transform Felton's game it could help his lateral quickness and perhaps boost his play against opposing point guards.
That remains to be seen. What we know now is that Felton is coming into next season is better shape than he has at any other time entering a season as a member of the Knicks. That's positive any way you look at it. Hopefully it will translate to the court.
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