Raymond Felton’s one-year tour with the Portland Trail Blazers started with head scratching, ended with ignominy, and featured plenty of murky mush in the middle. Brought onto a disintegrating team in a lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, Felton hastened Portland’s downward curve, coming into camp out of shape, unable to hit the open three-point shots that Nate McMillan’s offense demanded of him.
You wouldn’t know this by reading the extensive Q&A interview Felton gave to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype for the site’s podcast this week. As he reminisced over his 14-year career (and vowed to keep playing), Felton had this to say about his history:
AK: You’ve played in big markets and small markets throughout your career. What are the biggest differences when you’re in a big market versus a small market?
RF: To me, it didn’t really matter. It was all about the team to me. I’m all about winning. Thus far, I’ve yet to win an NBA championship, but I’ve won a championship at every other level I’ve played at. It was all about going to a good team; I couldn’t care less if it was in a smaller market or if it was New York or Los Angeles. It doesn’t really matter to me. I just want to play on a good team that’s going to win… Every city that I’ve played in embraced me with love.
Discussing the trials of repeatedly changing franchises, Felton had this to say:
RF: I think the moving part is more difficult. Like, moving from team to team and getting adjusted to different coaches isn’t a hard thing for me because I’m a student of the game. I study the game and I like to get to know coaches and their plays. I’m a student, so it’s never difficult for me because I like to watch film and see how I can be successful in the offense and learn the defensive scheme and how they do things. I’m just a student of the game; I love to watch other players and see what other coaches do. It was never really a tough moment for me. It was all about just growing relationships with my coaches and that’s something that I did with pretty much all the coaches that I played for.
The Blazers went 28-38 during Felton’s year in Portland, which featured him challenging the fan base and McMillan being fired.