Before Raymond Felton made his return to Dallas on Wednesday night, Rick Carlisle and Deron Williams took time to talk about his impact on the Mavericks last year.
The Mavericks will welcome back numerous former Mavericks (that they let walk this past summer) over the course of this season, but none of them had the impact that Raymond Felton had on the Mavericks last year.
After struggling in his first year in Dallas and only appearing in 29 games, Felton had a rejuvenating season last year in Dallas after appearing in 80 games and starting in 31 of them. Felton averaged over 27 minutes a game last year has he simply did whatever was asked of him. Normally, that was starting in place of Chandler Parsons as Dallas tried to ease him back from his knee injury.
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“We were bringing Parsons back slowly early and Ray was filling in and starting in games he didn’t play…we were winning a lot of those games because of what he was giving us,” Rick Carlisle said before the Clippers game on Wednesday.
But it wasn’t just him filling in for injured starters, it was his versatility on the defensive end of the ball.
“Ray was great man. I was only here one year, but he was great teammate, a great competitor. He brought a lot to this team on both ends of the floor, he was asked to guard guys like Kevin Durant at like 6’1″. Late in the season he made big plays and big shots for us. He helped us win the one game we won in the playoffs. He was a huge part of this team’s success last year,” Deron Williams said.
Felton gave Dallas something they lacked…and quite frankly still lack: a playmaking guard who can guard multiple positions. Not only was he that, but he was a solid veteran presence that any team would love to have.
“Felton played great for us. (After stumbling over some words) I wish we would have brought him back,” Carlisle said. “He was a big difference maker for us last year. He was probably one of the big reasons we got to the playoffs,” Carlisle said.
This is high praise coming from Carlisle as he admits that he wishes that would have brought him back. Felton flat-out balled last year in Dallas and it’s finally a cool sight to see people recognizing the impact he had on the Mavs last season.
Nov 12, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Raymond Felton (2) dribbles in the second quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
“I hope our fans acknowledge him tonight. I will look forward to acknowledging him tonight,” Carlisle said. “He was a winner. He was the ultimate pro here for two years. The Clippers are very lucky to have him.”
After being greeted by an applause from the crowd when checking into the game, Felton logged 22 minutes in the blowout win over the Mavericks.
As far as why Dallas didn’t bring Felton back despite him wanting to be back. Rick Carlisle had this to say…