|Contract||1 year/vet min.|
2015-16 Stats (per game)
After a great year with the New York Knicks in 2013, Felton flamed out the following season both on and off the court, leading to him being traded to the Mavericks as part of the Tyson Chandler deal. He didn’t play much Year 1 with Dallas, and many assumed he was nothing more than a shell of himself (albeit a much larger shell than he used to be).
But Felton had other ideas last season, posting a career renaissance at age 31 as he reminded fans that he was more than just a pudgy face. He became a crucial rotation player, starting 31 games and coming off the bench for 49 more as the Mavericks staggered to the 6th seed. He also put up perhaps the most unlikely triple-double of the season.
In the playoffs against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Felton emerged as the Mavs’ second-best player after Dirk, posting 15-5-5 averages for the series while starting and playing 34 minutes a game in Chandler Parsons’ absence. In Game 2, he memorably put up 21 points and 11 rebounds, leading the Dallas comeback as they improbably stunned the Thunder in OKC.
The fantastic Tim Cato of Mavs Moneyball did an interview with Clips Nation earlier in the summer, giving us an idea of what to expect from Felton this year. More recently, our own Taylor Smith went to the tape and looked into how Felton could help the Clippers this season.
Right now, Felton projects as the third point guard on the roster, behind Chris Paul and Austin Rivers, filling the role Pablo Prigioni played in the second half of the season for the Clippers last year. He’s a significant upgrade over Prigioni on both sides of the ball, and should be in line to play more minutes than Pablo got last year. His playstyle is much more balanced than the pass-first-second-and-third Prigioni.
Although he doesn’t bring Pablo’s peskiness and knack for backcourt steals, his size and (relative) youth should make him an improvement on the defensive end as well. Felton’s never been known as a great defender, but he’s like Jack Black’s character in Kung Fu Panda — he’s deceptively athletic for his frame, and makes up for his limitations with effort and hustle. Between Jamal Crawford and Marreese Speights, the bench defense this season won’t be anything to write home about, but Felton won’t be the reason why.
Felton’s never been a great outside shooter, something that would complement the second-unit backcourt well, but he’s a solid finisher at the rim and capable of playing both on- and off-ball. He also has a lot of experience as a lob passer, having played with Tyson Chandler in Charlotte, New York, and Dallas.
The bench rotation isn’t totally clear at the moment, but it should include five of six from Felton, Austin Rivers, Crawford, Wes Johnson, Brandon Bass, and Speights. The Clippers went to three-guard bench lineups a lot last season, which should suggest regular playing time for Felton. But they added frontcourt depth during the offseason, so we’ll see if Doc Rivers is more inclined to play traditional two-big lineups this year with Bass and Speights in the frontcourt.
I expect he’ll switch things up game-to-game, especially in the early going, so all six of them should see their fair share of playing time. Felton will probably also see time at starting point guard whenever Chris Paul sits out, allowing Rivers and Crawford to stay with the second unit.
Although his tenure in Dallas was short, Felton became a fan favorite last season. Last year’s Clippers was a lovable bunch, but they sorely missed Big Baby’s energy and rotundity on the bench. Now they have their replacement, and Felton should endear himself similarly to Clippers fans.