Can the New York Knicks rely on Elfrid Payton as their starting point guard next season?

Alexander Wilson
New York Knicks, Elfrid Payton
Dec 7, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Elfrid Payton (6) dribbles to the basket against the Indiana Pacers during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Should the New York Knicks put all their chips in on Elfrid Payton as their starting point guard?

When the Knicks initially signed Elfrid Payton to a two-year, $16 million contract, the reaction was lukewarm.

After posting solid numbers two seasons ago with the New Orleans Pelicans, the Knicks took a chance on the 25-year-old point guard. He played 45 games this year, starting in 36, averaging 27.7 minutes per game with a .439 field-goal percentage. However, there were some areas where he struggled, specifically from three-point land, earning a .203 hit rate from beyond the arc.

Also, his free-throw percentage was the worst it has been in over 4 years, finishing at .570%. One area that he did improve is in turnovers, earning a career-low with 2.1 per game. He also logged 1.6 steals per content, the second-highest in his career.

Having struggled to reach his potential as a former top 10 pick in the NBA draft, Payton showed serviceability with the Knicks, proving that he can handle a starting workload and operate at a high-level. The only issue is consistency, as he couldn’t manage to string together weeks of positive play. Injuries also tainted his performance in 2019, but the Knicks have a big decision to make.

Do they stick with Elfrid Payton and allocate a suspected top pick in the NBA draft of 2020 toward a different position, or do they upgrade the point guard position and utilize Payton as a reserve option?

Personally, I believe that the Knicks should find a true point guard who is consistently active on offense. Payton is a skilled passer and defender, but his 10 points per game limited NY’s offensive production. There are options in the draft and in free agency that should be considered, but if they believe Payton can be there starting point guard moving forward, he does have the ability to rise to the occasion.