Raymond Felton, described by many as a journeyman, will have to wait before he dons a Mavericks jersey. You see, he's been suspended the first four games of the season after pleading guilty to gun charges this past summer.
Beyond that, he may not even be healthy by game five, as a high ankle sprain sustained against Oklahoma City threatens to keep him out for an extended period of time. However, there's still a place and a significant role for the embattled point guard from North Carolina, but it will most definitely be in a reduced role.
Looking at Last Year
The 2013-14 season was the first time in Felton's career that his points per game dipped into the single digits. At 9.7 points per game, Felton was scoring significantly lower, thanks to a steep decline in shooting percentage, which dipped below 40 percent for the first time since the 2006-07 season, when he was still with Charlotte.
All of this was despite a reduction in minutes, shots per game, and no other significantly experienced point guard on the Knicks roster. Felton became the target of great criticism as the Knicks underperformed and missed the playoffs. But the question remains...is he finished?
Best Case Scenario
Felton was never going to be the starter in Dallas, and that should immediately alleviate a lot of the pressure that was on him in New York. Things tend to open up for players when they can step into a system that has a competent coach, and more guys capable of shouldering the load on any given night.
First things first, though, Felton has to get through his suspension, and get over his high ankle sprain. In a perfect world, Felton would be out of his boot and practicing again in about a week, which means he'd be working out and getting things tuned up about two weeks before he could step back onto the court in a regular season game. With Dallas' stellar medical staff, this isn't outside the realm of possibility.
Once he's back, seeing Felton in about 10-15 minutes per game would allow him to execute without being stretched thin. If his shooting percentage got back up to around 41 percent, with his three point range getting back up to about 35 percent, that's more than serviceable for a number 3 point guard.
Worst Case Scenario
Felton's injury doesn't heal quickly, and he sits out for closer to six weeks, meaning he doesn't see any game time until the end of November/early December, at which point the Mavs will have probably already settled into a nice rotation.
Even when he does see minutes, Felton's shooting remains below average, and despite his passing ability, he renders himself almost unplayable. Yes, Felton is a solid passer, but when you're running with the twos and threes, you're going to be called upon to do some scoring as well.
The Tarheel Connection Continues
Like Vince Carter and Wayne Ellington before him, as well as Brandan Wright, Felton is continuing the tradition of the Mavs stocking their roster with North Carolina Tarheels. Tar Heels. TarHeels? I dunno. But check out this highlight video from Felton's time at UNC.