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Scouting the six newest Knicks free-agent signees: Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, Elfrid Payton, Reggie Bullock and Wayne Ellington

Julius Randle looks during the second half of

Julius Randle looks during the second half of a game in New Orleans on March 28. Photo Credit: AP/Tyler Kaufman

JULIUS RANDLE

The facts: 6-9, 250 pounds, power forward/center, 24 years old

The contract: 3 years, $63 million (third year is team option with partial guarantee)

The upside: The Knicks had a hole at power forward and Randle fills that with a player who put up the best numbers of his career last season. Randle raised his game last season, posting a career-high 21.4 points per game — and his scoring has gone up in every season. He expanded his game in New Orleans, jumping his three-point shooting percentage from 22.2 percent the year before to 34.4 and his attempts from 0.5 per game to 2.7.

The downside: Enes Kanter called Zion Williamson, “Julius Randle with hops,” and it’s not exactly an accurate depiction since Williamson is a tenacious defender and has shown basketball instincts and passing skills that Randle just doesn’t have. But it does get to the point of what Randle is — a below the rim interior scorer. While his range expanded 73 percent of his shots still came within 10 feet. 

TAJ GIBSON

The facts: 6-9, 232 pounds, power forward, 34 years old

The contract: 2 years, $20 million (second year is team option)

The upside: The Brooklyn native (is it too soon to mention Brooklyn?) is the sort of veteran leader and defensive presence that a young team like the Knicks can benefit from. As one of the linchpins of Tom Thibodeau’s defense in Chicago and then Minnesota, he has finished in the top 20 in the NBA’s defensive rating three times. Want to know what kind of guy he is? He played 82 games as a rookie and then nine seasons later played 82 again in 2017-18.

The downside: In today’s NBA he is a non-entity on the perimeter, attempting 0.5 threes per game. In his last two seasons he posted the worst defensive rating of his career.

BOBBY PORTIS

The facts: 6-11, 250 pounds, power forward, 24 years old

The contract: 2 years, $31 million (second year is team option)

The upside: Following a midseason trade to Washington last year after spending his first three full seasons and part of last year with the Bulls he became an everyday starter for the first time and posted the best numbers of his career — including topping 30 points twice. Oddly, he put up better scoring and shooting numbers as a bench player — which might be good since that will likely be his role in New York.

The downside: Sadly, he has gained the most attention for his practice floor fight with teammate Nikola Mirotic in Chicago in October, 2017 — ending a verbal battle with a punch that fractured the face of Mirotic. He apologized publicly and to the team, but the team still rid themselves of both players. 

ELFRID PAYTON

The facts: 6-4, 185 pounds, point guard, 25 years old

The contract: 2 years, $16 million (second year is a team option)

The upside: He played 42 games for the Pelicans, his third team, and posted a career high with 7.6 assists per game and the former lottery pick of the Orlando Magic (where Knicks GM Scott Perry was assistant GM at the time) has averaged double-figure scoring in each season after his rookie year.

The downside: Did we mention that this is now his fourth team? Payton has never reached the heights projected for him out of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and has been a minus defender throughout his career. He shot 31.4 percent from three last season and is just a career 30.2 percent shooter from beyond the arc.

REGGIE BULLOCK

The facts: 6-7, 205 pounds, shooting guard/small forward, 28 years old

The contract: 2 years, $21 million (second year is a team option)

The upside: Versatile wing who has emerged as a solid three-point threat. He has shot 39.2 percent in his career, including 44.5 percent two years ago with the Pistons. The former first-round pick out of North Carolina stretched the floor, averaging 10.1 three-point attempts per game last season.

The downside: With RJ Barrett and Kevin Knox the Knicks would seem to be ready at the starting spots and while Bullock gives them outside shooting he has never provided the defense that the two young players lack.

WAYNE ELLINGTON

The facts: 6-5, 200 pounds, shooting guard, 31 years old

The contract: 2 years, $16 million (second year is a team option)

The upside: This is Ellington with the Knicks version 2.0 as he was briefly with the team in the summer of 2014 and traded away before training camp even began. He has shuttled through now eight teams in his career if you don’t include that first tenure in New York or the Suns, who traded for him and immediately released him last year, but has improved steadily and last year after signing during the season with Detroit he got his first chance as a full-time starter and averaged a career-best 15.6 points per 36 minutes. Also, he did win the 2015-16 NBA Citizenship Award.

The downside: Like last year’s designated shooter, John Jenkins, he is a bit of a one-trick pony. Defense and ball-moving have been optional.

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