Elfrid Payton, who signed a two-year, $16M deal, was one of the more interesting signings the Knicks made this offseason. They had recently traded for then-21-year-old Dennis Smith Jr in the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
Payton and DSJ play the same position, point guard. They also already had another 21-year-old point guard in Frank Ntilikina. But Payton was a Scott Perry draft pick in Orlando and the Knicks must’ve not felt comfortable with those two leading the way at point guard.
The 2014 10th overall draft pick won the starting job from Smith and Ntilikina for good reason. Payton has been one of the most consistent offensive players on the team, shooting 44.1% from the field, along with 7.1 assists per game. He can get to the rim at will.
He has good size at 6-3 but is almost incapable of hitting a shot outside of the paint. From behind the three-point line, he only shoots 20.3 percent. Payton also shoots a poor 37.8 percent from mid-range. Defensively, he has a nose for steals, averaging 1.5 per game, but doesn’t show enough consistent effort otherwise.
At age 26, Payton is still relatively young and has time to fix his jump shot. Having a point guard that can’t shoot really hurts in today’s shooter-crazy NBA. If No. 6 can show signs of life with his jump shot and show a more consistent effort on defense, Payton could make a good backup for next season.