Last season, Julius Randle was the reason Knicks fans wanted to pull his or her hair out.
This year, it’s been, Elfrid Payton.

Elfrid Payton is BY FAR the Weakest Link

To start the second half on Tuesday night, the little lightbulb went off in the consciousness of Jazz head coach Quin Snyder. It seemed as though he told his team to attack Elfrid Payton. Mike Conley had 12 points in the first six minutes of the second half. Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau called a timeout in frustration but not before the Jazz had a 17-8 run. 

During that run, Payton scored his first two buckets of the game. He also notched his first assist of the game with eight minutes left in the third quarter.

That’s a starting point guard in the NBA getting his first points and assist in the second half. 

Tom Thibodeau is going to lose this fanbase if they continue to run Elfrid Payton out there. His play has been inferior compared to every single one of his teammates.

This graph states that Payton hasn’t done much on either end of the court. The product cannot be worse than Dennis Smith, Jr. and Frank Ntilikina, who can’t get any minutes and have been the odd men left out of the rotation. 

Additionally, Payton is averaging 12 points on 5-for-12 shooting, four assists, and four rebounds a game.

Simply put, Payton cannot be the starting point guard of this team. He is not a good basketball player. I’ll keep tabs on him when he starts tearing up overseas leagues, though.

Who Will Step Up Offensively? 

The Knicks can trust Julius Randle and RJ Barrett to put up 20 points each a night.

They have that type of talent offensively, but who will be the consistent number three scorer?

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The Knicks lack scoring. Being a top defense is cool and everything, but if you can’t turn that defense into points, what is the point? On Tuesday night, three players scored in double digits for the Knicks: Randle, Barrett, and Rivers.

However, Rivers didn’t score a point in the second half.

Alec Burks could be that guy, but he is still coming back from injuries and hasn’t quite found his footing like he did to start the season. Kevin Knox is struggling again as his magic has run out. Austin Rivers has been inconsistent, he can score 20 points off the bench but he’ll follow it up with four straight games where he doesn’t score more than ten points. 

What Are We Doing With Our Big Men?

I have been unimpressed with the play of Nerlens Noel, Mitchell Robinson, and Obi Toppin.

Now, Noel has been good on defense, which is expected, but his offensive production is subpar. For his career, Noel has averaged 7.8 PPG on 54.2% from the field, 5.2 RPG, and 1.1 APG. This season, Noel has averaged 3.1 ppg, 5.2 RPG, and 0.5 APG. 

Mitchell Robinson has done so much better with his fouling and it makes me feel so proud. He is much better at not trying to swat everything into the 15th row. But we need more.

He’s averaging 9.1 PPG and 8.3 RPG, which is fine. But if Robinson could bump his numbers up to average a double-double, that’d be perfect. The Knicks need to run more plays for Mitchell Robinson, including running pick-and-rolls and floating them up for Robinson. But, Robinson needs to learn how to set a hard screen. These soft screens aren’t getting anybody open. Set a harder screen.

Lastly, Toppin is a slasher, high-flying basketball player. The Knicks are trying to make him into a spot-up shooter, which is one of his weaker areas. He’s averaging about five points per game and is playing 12 minutes. The Knicks need to run pick-and-rolls and have Toppin cut hard to the basket and float it up and let him ravage the rim. These men are being used incorrectly on offense.

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