11-23-2012, 11:33 AM
Since: Mar 2010
HOUSTON — Raymond Felton said it’s unfair to compare him with Jeremy Lin. Because there’s no comparison.
Felton, Lin’s successor and the Knicks’ new point-guard engine, can once and for all stifle Linsanity talk around the Big Apple when the Knicks meet the struggling Lin tonight at Toyota Center.
Felton likes his resume better and clearly is having the better season. It hit rock bottom for Lin on Wednesday night when he got benched in favor for ex-Knick Toney Douglas after a five-turnover, 2-of-9 horror show. Douglas led the Rockets (5-7) to victory over the Bulls.
Paul J. Bereswill
Even Lin admitted yesterday he’s been “exposed’’ so far. Linsanity is on life support.
“We’re two different players,’’ Felton said. “I’ve been in this league eight years. He’s been in this league half of a year coming into a year now. I definitely don’t see how anybody can compare me and him together. I’ve been in the league way longer, got a much more body of work. He had a great run last year — one of the best I’ve ever seen. I’m glad he got his money. I would never hate him about that. But to compare me and him, we’re two different players.’’
Lin isn’t ready to disagree Felton has been the perfect find for the Knicks while he experiences growing pains at age 24 coming off March knee surgery.
The undrafted penetrating point guard out of Harvard admitted he doesn’t have the same explosiveness of last season when he authored Linsanity that landed him on Sports Illustrated’s cover two straight weeks. The wild attention made some Knicks players jealous of his global icon status, notably Carmelo Anthony.
Yesterday, there was no more than 10 media members at Rockets practice. The NBA’s first Asian-American is averaging 10 points, 6.3 assists, 2.8 turnovers and shooting a dreadful 33.3 percent.
“I’ve been exposed a lot early on in the season and I have a lot to work on,’’ Lin said. “I’m young. I’ve probably started 30-something games my entire career. I felt better before [the surgery,] but it’s just a process. We have three days off after [tomorrow] and there’s going to be a lot of things I’m going to do for my leg, knee. Just explosive stuff we’re trying to work on. That will come eventually.
“It’s ironic that it’s Thanksgiving because it’s a good reminder to be thankful for everything I have,’’ Lin added. “I’m going to go out there on Friday and just play my heart out.’’
Felton, who said on media day he had a “big chip’’ on his shoulder, cringes when Lin’s name comes up.
“The chip on my shoulder has nothing to do with Jeremy Lin at all,’’ Felton said. “The chip on the shoulder is for me. It got nothing to do with him. I couldn’t care less about what he got going on in Houston.’’
Indeed, even Lin’s former Knicks teammates speak in a detached way about him. His lone true friend left on the club is Steve Novak. Mike Woodson has refused to talk about Lin in the past. After the Dallas loss Wednesday night, a public-relations official cut off the coach’s postgame talk prematurely before reporters could ask him about Lin.
J.R. Smith said in July as the Knicks mulled Houston’s revised 3-year, $25.1 million offer sheet he felt other veteran players were more worthy of the money.
“We got a lot of veteran guys been around league long enough to be able to let stuff like that go,’’ Smith said. “That’s Jeremy’s situation. I really don’t care what his situation is. He doesn’t wear a Knick uniform anymore. We got all the pieces we have here. I don’t think we have to revert to who was here last year.’’
Anthony said nobody’s looking back at Lin.
“I’m pretty sure he’s content and happy where he’s at,’’ Anthony said. “We’re happy we’re winning. I have no complaints about what our front office did this offseason, acquiring the guys they did.”
“It was crazy [last year],’’ Melo added. “I was a big part of it. With Raymond, we talk about it here and there, but it’s not something he was worried about.’’
Knicks fans were furious in mid-July when the team didn’t match the offer sheet and signed Felton, 28.
“I think he’s done a great job,’’ Lin said. “I don’t know any specific numbers, but I know they’re winning and I know he’s done a great job for them. I think he is a great fit for them. He’s really good and he came back really motivated this season and deserves a lot of that credit.
“They’re playing really well and I’m not playing nearly as well as I wish I was,’’ Lin said.
As far as the resentment, Lin said, “I didn’t sense that to my face. I’m not sure how they felt. It’s kind of something none of us could control. The way it happened, it happened. Nobody wished for any of it. I’m thankful it all worked out and everything happened the way it was supposed to.
“Everybody has their own specific contract and opinion if they’re worth it or not,’’ Lin added. “Whether I’m overvalued or undervalued, it’s not my concern as long as I’m trying to reach my potential.’’
Tonight we see what Lin is really made of. Will he bounce back or not?