knicks julius randle
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

With the New York Knicks playing well, the Knicks State of Mind guys dive into Julius Randle’s resurgence and Elfrid Payton’s role in it all.

Julius Randle didn’t win Eastern Conference Player of the Week because of the Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, but the Knicks State of Mind podcast doesn’t put too much stock into weekly awards.

Nonetheless, Randle deserves heaps of credit for his recent uptick in production. In three games last week, two of which were wins, Randle averaged 32.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists. Better yet, Randle hit over 50% of his shots from the field, converted on more than 40% of his three-point attempts, and drilled 15 of his 16 free throws.

This is the player the Knicks believed Randle could be when he inked a three-year, $63 million deal this past summer.

It helps that Elfrid Payton‘s return coincided with interim head coach Mike Miller taking over for David Fizdale. Payton and Randle played together for the New Orleans Pelicans last season and it’s clear that the two have established chemistry together.

As Payton’s stock rises, Dennis Smith Jr.’s stock is plummeting. The guys discuss the enigma that is Smith and how his performance reflects on the blockbuster Kristaps Porzingis trade.

With all this said, it’s important to put last week into perspective. The Knicks played a decimated Washington Wizards squad twice, losing the first of those games in embarrassing fashion. Gary Payton II’s do-it-all performance in Madison Square Garden took the air out of the building.

The Knicks will welcome Carmelo Anthony and the Portland Trail Blazers to MSG on New Year’s Day. It will be Melo’s first game in the Garden since December of 2017.

ESNY staff reports.