Elfrid Payton’s improved health has the New York Knicks feeling good again. And his head coach, Mike Miller, has taken notice.
New York Knicks point guard Elfrid Payton finished off Thursday night’s win in Brooklyn with 13 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. And despite the solid production, it was the praise from Payton’s coach and teammates after the win that seemed most impressive.
“He’s been a coach on the floor,” interim head coach Mike Miller said on Thursday. “I keep using the same phrase, but he’s helping all of the players on the floor. He’s finding ways to put them in good situations and he’s got a great command of the ball and of our offense.”
Payton is having an impact on Julius Randle. The sixth-year man out of Kentucky has scored at least 24 points in three out of the Knicks four victories since Payton has come back from injury. It’s easy to see Payton’s effect on the offense and his chemistry with Randle. The two played together last season in New Orleans.
“He’s playing amazing, pushing the pace, playing with confidence. That’s the big thing I see,” said Randle. “He’s playing with confidence, getting into the paint, making shots, making plays for others, shooting the ball well, he’s being the EP that I know, that I played with last year. He’s the head of the snake and this team really feeds off his energy so he’s doing a great job.”
Payton’s leadership will be needed as the Knicks look to avenge a terrible home loss against a severely under-manned Washington Wizards team this Saturday. Additionally, Payton, who earned the starting job in place of Frank Ntilikina, will need to continue his improved play amidst reports that Dennis Smith Jr. may be on his way out of New York.