Felton was traded from the New York Knicks to the Denver Nuggets in Feb. 2011 as part of the Carmelo Anthony trade. He was dealt to Portland in a 3-team trade after the season, and he had a poor season with the Blazers. Felton’s shooting percentage dropped to 40.7 percent, and his assistant to turnover ratio was 2.32, which was much lower than it was in Denver or New York.
McMillan was fired by the Blazers last year as the team disappointed with a 20-23 start. He told ESPN New York that Felton is doing for the Knicks this year what Portland thought he could do for them.
“What he’s doing now is what we felt he was always capable of doing for us,” McMillan said. “He just didn’t have that kind of year. When we brought him to Portland, what he’s doing — pushing the ball, attacking the basket, his ability to create opportunities as well as push the tempo — we felt he could do that.”
McMillan feels Felton’s weight was the problem.
“I think [his weight] had a direct impact on how well he played,” McMillan told reporter Jared Zwerling. “When you’re not conditioned to play, then you’re going to struggle, you’re going to turn the ball over. If you don’t have your legs, your shot is not going to fall.
“He had picked up some weight, as he told me, and we were trying to work on him moving that weight during the season.”
Felton has always been pudgier than your typical muscular player, but he gained weight during the NBA lockout, which preceded the shortened season. In addition to his weight being a hindrance, Felton said that being traded to Denver from New York made him sick. I’m sure another trade to Portland after the season didn’t do wonders for his motivation. Now that he’s finally back where he originally wanted to be, he’s playing much better. Mental happiness probably has a lot to do with that.
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