Portland’s New Trio Signals A Changing Of The Guard

Raymond Felton

Raymond Felton (photo. Chad Griffith)

If the lockout goes down as expected, the Portland Trail Blazers will enter the summer having answered one of their biggest personnel questions and practically set its starting lineup in June.

Point guard Raymond Felton joins from Denver in a draft-day switch with Andre Miller. Unlike Miller, Felton doesn’t need the ball in his hands on every possession to be effective as a scorer and is an equal at distribution. And on the day he was introduced by interim GM Chad Buchanan along with draft picks Nolan Smith (No. 21) and Jon Diebler (No. 51) on Monday, Felton put the ball in the Blazers’ court about making him a franchise point guard.

“I’m definitely looking for something long-term here,” Felton said in the news conference.

Felton played in Roy Williams‘ secondary break system at North Carolina, and under Larry Brown in Charlotte, he was able to run, as well. He sees himself as a guy able “to push the ball up the court, but I can also run a half-court team,” which will be critical in Portland’s offense, centered around LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy, to the extent his knees are healthy. Felton fit in immediately in New York under Mike D’Antoni‘s system, as well, and hinted in his comments he’d like to break the Blazers out of its methodical offense, when he can.

“I’m looking forward to working with these guys as soon as possible,” Felton added. … “I’m just going to come out and play basketball. The fit is great. A very young team, athletic, we can get up and down the court. We have a post man who can put the ball in the basket just in case we have to play half court.

“Adding these two guys right beside me (rookies Smith and Diebler) is some young talent that can really come out and I think can really help us out right away.”

How much will the Blazers’ three new guards help? Here’s a prediction:

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