Kay Felder Provides The Perfect Two-Way Balance


The Cleveland Cavaliers caught a glimpse of what Kay Felder can do in Summer League action. Now it’s time to focus on his role within the organization.

Kay Felder was selected 54th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers after trading for the pick from the Atlanta Hawks. He would play in the Las Vegas Summer League and shine for the Cavs in his professional basketball debut. When the season tips-off on Oct. 25, a lot can be expected of Felder.

Felder, 21, excelled in his three college seasons at Oakland Universities. He became the star player in his sophomore season, averaging 18.1 points, 7.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game.

He only got better during his junior season, averaging 24.4 points, 9.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. His shooting numbers improved, too, with a shooting line of .440/.355/.848. He was the only player in college basketball to rank in the top five in both points and assists per game during the 2015-16 season.

If that’s the case, then why wasn’t he a first round pick? He is only 5-foot-9, which if he was 6-foot he probably wouldn’t have played at Oakland, and he probably would have been a first round pick.

Related Story: Kay Felder's 2016 Summer League Report

Felder definitely has the talent of a first round pick, but, like Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas, Felder fell in the draft due to his lack of height. In fact, the two have quite a bit in common.

Felder was selected 54th overall while Thomas was 60th overall. Both players shoot left-handed, and both are 5-foot-9. They are also similar to the player that paved the way for them in little leaper Nate Robinson, who is also 5-foot-9.

Felder’s game draws comparisons to both players, and for good reason. He has elite leaping ability with a 44-inch vertical, and he has the scoring capability. However, there is just a different aspect to Felder’s game that Thomas and Robinson can’t compete with.

Defensively, Felder is more aggressive than both of them. Robinson may have been tougher physically, which is proven by his NFL tryout, but Felder defends every foot of the court. He showed during Summer League that he will play full court defense on the ball handler and defend from 35-plus feet out in a half court set.

He is also more aggressive in a sense of using his quickness to jump into passing lanes to get a steal and an easy transition run out. Don’t forget about his vertical, he can also block shots in transition and be a factor around the rim.

Based on his athletic ability, Felder shouldn’t have any problem making up for his height deficit, unless it comes on the offensive end.

He has found ways to get shots off against taller defenders, particularly with his step-back jumper. At the NBA level, he’s going to need to utilize ball screens to free himself from his defender to hit an uncontested mid-range jumper or drive to the rim.

Playing off the ball is where Felder may have problems. Unless he is coming off a screen, he may never find an open shot attempt without dribbling. His only hope is to knock down open three-pointers as someone else, possibly LeBron James or Kyrie Irving, draws the defense’s attention to the paint.

While Felder has shown the ability to hit an open three-pointer during Summer League, he didn’t have great success finding his shot consistently. He finished with a 22.7 percent three-point percentage. This is an area of his game he will need to improve.

More from King James Gospel

There is room for Felder to make an impact on the Cavs, even as a rookie. As a playmaker, he is an upgrade over Mo Williams and is a two-way player, as opposed to Jordan McRae as a scorer.

His athletic ability is second-to-none when it comes to a player of his size. He has the strength to battle against opposing point guards and the quickness to stay in front of opponents.

Felder’s aggressiveness on the defensive end is enough to force turnovers and change the pace of the game. Offensively, he has elite ball-handling skills to create for himself and teammates. He truly has a skill set that is NBA-ready.

Related Story: Kay Felder Fits The Cleveland Cavaliers Puzzle Perfectly

Expect Kay Felder to make an impact this season with the perfect balance as a two-way guard.