Elfrid Payton is another great candidate to unlock his defensive potential as a post-hype lottery pick.
Payton has always been adept at creating turnovers and last season averaged 1.6 steals per game. In his heart, Thibodeau may want to field Payton and Ntilikina together as a kind of stopping tandem, but it will also be important to stagger their minutes to shoot the floor.
The rotation problem can be facilitated by Payton’s ability to fill the box score in the assist and rebound category.
Payton has toured the NBA, playing for four teams in six seasons, and he probably realizes that if he doesn’t start showing off his defensive skills early, he may not have much time left for him in the Association. But he has the pedigree to channel that defensive hiding place that took him to the top of many draft boards in 2014, and he has the perfect mentor to bring out the best in him.
For $ 8 million, it might be worth the Knicks to bring Payton back under Thibodeau.