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Around the New York Knicks: Chris Smith Cut, Raymond Felton & Jeff Van Gundy

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Around the New York Knicks: Chris Smith Cut, Raymond Felton & Jeff Van Gundy

2014-03-05 11:38:39

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Raymond Felton’s down season has taken a turn for the worse. (Image Source: Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY)

We take you around the New York Knicks:

Jeff Van Gundy critical of roster:

“I think there are serious roster issues," former New York head coach Jeff Van Gundy said in an interview with Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco on ESPN New York Radio. "Along with that, they have their three most important perimeter players, [Raymond] Felton, [Iman] Shumpert and J.R. Smith, all played well to very well last year and each are having a subpar year this year. And then add in the two guys they signed, Metta World Peace and [Beno] Udrih, just bought out because of the little impact they had, and some injuries along the way, particularly to Tyson Chandler." 

Last season when New York won the division, Smith had a career year, Felton had a good season running the offseason and Chandler was the linchpin of the defense and on the boards. All of those players, who were the core behind Carmelo Anthony a year ago, have taken dramatic steps back in production this season. Shumpert wasn’t a significant player but the Knicks were counting on him to take a step forward in his third season in the NBA and instead the former first round pick has regressed.

In addition to flaws on the roster and guys having down seasons, it’s clear the losing has taken its toll on the team’s psyche.

“They are really struggling to find ways to stop people right now,” Van Gundy continued. “I think their collective spirit has been shattered by this season, particularly after they had played so well last year winning the division title.” 

ESPN New York’s Ian O’Connor believes the Knicks should tab Van Gundy as the man to replace Mike Woodson, whose days appear to be numbered.

The columnist also listed high profile names like Mark Jackson, Tom Thibodeau, Billy Donovan and John Calipari as potential head coaching candidates.

Chris Smith waived…By D-League team:

When Chris Smith, J.R. Smith’s younger brother, made New York’s roster at the start of the season it left many shaking their head. Clearly, nepotism was at play. Smith has never looked like an NBA player, not in regular season action, the preseason or even in the summer league. Yet, he cracked the Knicks’ 15-man roster to start the year.

Eventually he was released to create a roster spot for summer league star Jeremy Tyler, much to the chagrin of J.R. Smith. Playing with New York’s D-League team the Erie BayHawks, Smith saw his playing time decline and after remaining on the bench for three straight games, the Louisville product was waived by the BayHawks on Tuesday. Smith averaged just 8.1 points per game in 23 D-League games.

Woodson talks about Felton distraction:

“It’s a distraction, there’s no doubt about that,” Mike Woodson said of Raymond Felton’s off-court issues. “I’m gonna need him to play, that’s it. I know he’s carrying a lot on his shoulders, but we have his back and we support him.”

The team lacks options at the point guard position so it’s Felton or bust, and for much of the season it’s been bust. Felton is shooting just 39 percent this season and averaging a career-low 10 points per game. Since his arrest, the numbers have been even worse, as he’s shooting just 21.9 percent and averaging 5.5 points over the past four games.

“The ball just ain’t going in the basket for me. It’s very frustrating,” Felton said. “My personal life is my personal life. At the same time, obviously if you’re dealing with something, it’s on your mind. But I try not to let that come into my job. This is my job. I gotta perform and I gotta do my job.”

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. 

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