By Stefan Bondy / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Soon, Raymond Felton will have the most scrutinized job at the Garden as Jeremy Lin's replacement.
And Carmelo Anthony — having played with Felton since adolescence — is predicting a motivated, purposeful point guard.
"This is a special year for him mentally, for him being traded from here and having the chance to come back and prove to people what his game is about," Anthony said at his youth camp at St. John's University. "When he was here in New York, they were rolling. He was having an All-Star year when he was here so to bring him back that was an extra incentive for him to want to do good.
"I know, for him, he has a chip on his shoulder. I've been playing against Raymond since I was 9 years old in AAU basketball so he's been the same since then. He wants to prove everybody wrong."
Indeed, Felton has taken a fighting stance toward criticisms about his weight and struggles last season - telling CBS Sports last month, "I came in out of shape one year (last season with the Trailblazers) and that's all anybody wants to talk about. I look forward to this year to shutting up everybody's mouth."
Anthony can understand. He has also been the target of critics, mostly surrounding his leadership and ability to mesh with Amar'e Stoudemire.
Charles Oakley was the latest to call out the Knicks stars for "not making their teammates better," but Anthony dismissed it Friday.
"I didn't really hear exactly what he said but at this point it really doesn't matter," said Anthony, who, when asked, even offered Oakley cases of the energy drink he endorses.
"It doesn't matter what he said."
Having locked up his Olympic gold medal and preparing to get it framed, Anthony said the hamstring he tweaked in London is "100 percent," and he's taking a short break from basketball before resuming gym work next week.
Stoudemire, meanwhile, recently returned from training sessions in Houston with Hakeem Olajuwon, embracing the idea that his post-game - which was non-existent last season - needs assistance.
"It's not like (Stoudemire) didn't have those moves. I guess he didn't feel comfortable with it . whatever it may be," Anthony said, adding, "for him to take that step and say at least he wanted to try it, a lot of people wouldn't have taken that step."