There is no precise timetable for Elfrid Payton’s return. But if and when the point guard returns, Thibodeau will have to make a decision: keep Derrick Rose in the starting line-up or give Payton back his old job?
Thibodeau has said several times this season that he likes the way Payton defends himself and he likes how he fits into starters.
But the Knicks are 3-0 in Payton’s absence and Rose played well.
Shortly after the Rose trade, someone in contact with the Knicks was under the impression that Payton and Austin Rivers would be the two players most affected by the deal.
Since Rose arrived, Rivers has been removed from the 10-man rotation. Payton kept going but Rose showed she was able to adapt to the owners and the reserves. So Thibodeau faces an interesting decision.
If he puts Payton back into the starting lineup, he would likely knock Frank Ntilikina out of the rotation.