The New York Knicks have the perfect problem brewing at point guard

New York Knicks, Elfrid Payton
Jan 2, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; New York Knicks guard Elfrid Payton (6) shoots the ball while Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) defends in the fourth quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks enjoyed a fantastic comeback win against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday evening, as they have embarked on an impressive winning streak lately, securing four victories over their last five games.

Against Atlanta, the stars of the contest were Julius Randle with 28 points and 17 rebounds, RJ Barrett with 26 points and 11 rebounds, and rookie guard Immanuel Quickley with 16 points off the bench. Ultimately, this was a team win, and considering the injuries that have plagued the squad this season, it attests to their strength and mentality under new head coach Tom Thibodeau.

“We didn’t play great but we found a way to win,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I love the fight in the team.”

Good teams find ways to win games, and that is the reality in the NBA and in most sporting leagues. While it might be a bit premature to coin the Knicks as a good team, they undoubtedly have the spark necessary to compete against quality opponents. Atlanta is 4-3 on the season and started off the year with three consecutive wins, so they are no walk in the park.

“We’re mentally tough,” RJ Barrett said. “We didn’t let the one loss [on this trip, to Toronto in Tampa on New Year’s Eve] stop us. We had to fight for this one. It’s good to see how resilient our team is. Everyone plays with an edge. Everyone contributes and that’s been great so far.”

The New York Knicks have a beautiful problem developing at point guard:

Aside from the Knicks’ improbable start to the season, they have a great problem brewing at a point guard position. Starting the year with Elfrid Payton as their primary starter, he has averaged 13.6 points per game and 4.6 assists. However, Quickley is close behind, averaging 10 points and 1.3 assists over 15.3 minutes per game. He averages about half the minutes that Payton enjoys, so his point production really shines through.

In fact, if Quickley were playing the same amount of time that Payton is, he would be averaging about 20 points, 2.6 assists, and 2.6 rebounds per contest. He also turns the ball over less than Payton, indicating impressive growth for a young player in his first season.
Thibodeau might have a problem on his hands in the coming days, and the decision boils down to who he should start at point guard. The Knicks have lacked a true threat at the position for quite some time, and Quickley seems to be a natural scorer with impressive confidence. They should continue developing him and giving him more minutes as he adapts to the NBA.