One question certainly facing the Knicks entering the postseason: What is going on with Elfrid Payton?
The point guard, who has been the starter in every game he has played, has seen his minutes reduced, and his production has dissipated to the point that he is running a negative in his time on the floor.
Payton was 0-for-4 from the field with two turnovers in less than 14 minutes in Sunday’s 96-92 win over the Celtics. In the last 15 games of the season, he never reached 20 minutes on the floor — starting the first half and the third quarter and usually not appearing again once he was pulled.
In that span, he shot 32-for-92, and on Sunday, he appeared hesitant to take even open shots. He had a pair of drives to the rim swatted away by Luke Kornet.
Derrick Rose has taken the majority of minutes, although he was on the floor for only 23 minutes Sunday after missing Thursday’s game with a sprained ankle and returning to action Saturday. But he said he’ll be ready heading into the postseason.
"I’m feeling good, man," Rose said. "I mean, outside of the ankle, just trying to get my body right since I twisted my ankle like, playing live, I didn’t play in practice or anything. The games have been the only action I’ve been getting. So I’m out there just making sure I’ve got nothing lingering into the postseason and just trying to get ready coming back from the ankle, but it feels good to actually be in the postseason with a group like this. Everybody is locked in and the city is buzzing right now, so it’s a great feeling."
Before he was drafted in the summer of 2019, RJ Barrett spoke openly about wanting to be a Knick and be a part of turning the long-struggling franchise around. He had a team-high 22 points in the season finale.
"We brought Knicks fans what they want — brought them back to the playoffs," he said. "But before I got drafted, this is what I envisioned. This is what I wanted to do. I’ve always said I’m a winner. I had a feeling I’d be part of multiple teams that will get to the playoffs."