According to SNY, Elfrid Payton is the early favorite to be the Knicks point guard, having returned to free agency at a discount after his squad option was refused to pick up where he left off last year.
Payton only played 45 games due to injury, starting 36 of them, helping the Knicks reach a record of 14-22 in those games. He shot 48% from two points and filled the card when he was aggressive, scoring 13 points, six rebounds, nine assists and two steals every 36 minutes.
Judging strictly by the evidence up to this point, Payton has the strongest case thanks to his six years of experience as an initial point guard and reliable production last year. At 26, fans shouldn’t expect much progress in his game, which makes him likely to be replaced by a Ntilkina or Smith Jr. finally breaking out. His obvious weakness remains long-range shooting, which could end up putting him on the bench if the rest of the starting lineup don’t have enough shots. But aside from one of these scenarios, the point should be his to lose.