Crawford to Replace Felton as Blazers’ Starting Point Guard?

by February 12, 2012

That long-term deal Raymond Felton had in mind isn’t looking so promising anymore. Jason Quick of The Oregonian thinks Felton may soon be sent to the bench: “McMillan is cautious of benching Felton for fear that it will strip the veteran of whatever confidence he has. And the coach is not exactly convinced there is a clear improvement waiting in the wings: Jamal Crawford has also struggled with his shot and turnovers, and rookie Nolan Smith has been tentative in most of his limited minutes. But at the same time, the Blazers coach can sense a season is slipping away. He gave himself 20 games, he said, to allow his players to work out their kinks, be it lack of conditioning, lack of rhythm, or getting used to new teammates. The Blazers have played 28 of their 66 games. ‘It’s time the play becomes better,’ McMillan said Saturday. So will he consider taking Felton out of the starting lineup in favor of Crawford? ‘I have to look at it,’ McMillan said. How much more McMillan needs to see before making a change, I don’t know. McMillan has already started to trend toward featuring Crawford at point guard. For the past week or so, he has used the tandem together, but has ordered Crawford to handle the ball and initiate the offense. Crawford has had some of his best performances in this role, primarily at New Orleans, when he had 31 points and eight assists. He also had 21 and six against Houston and eight assists against Denver. What’s more, Crawford is creating opportunities and shots for his teammates, and thereby is a threat. Yeah, he is still taking — and missing — a lot of shots. But this team is more dangerous when he has the ball than when Felton does.”