The Knicks Didn't Trade For D'Angelo Russell; Elfrid Payton Might Be Showing You Why
The NBA is officially past its trade deadline as of 3 PM Thursday. Throughout the week, as the deadline approached, reports and rumors were swirling about potential trades. One of the many reports was that the Knicks were interested in Warriors point guard D’Angelo Russell. Russell, who signed a max deal with Golden State this past summer, ended up being traded to the Timberwolves on Thursday.
Some Knicks fans might have wondered what the team would have looked like with the addition of a young point guard who made the All-Star game last year. But once again, Elfrid Payton put those thoughts on hold.
In the Knicks' 105-103 victory over the Magic, Payton ignited the team both offensively and defensively. On defense, he came up with 7 steals and 3 defensive boards. The point guard was a huge part of the Knicks lockdown defense at the end of the fourth quarter that helped seal the win.
On offense, he put up 15 points, 9 assists, and 1 offensive rebound. “He was everywhere. You know what he does offensively setting up everybody, getting to the basket and making the right plays,” teammate Julius Randle said of the point guard's play.
It’s not like Payton’s performance was a fluke or a one-time thing. He has been stringing together a handful of really great games. Two games ago Payton put up a triple-double in a win vs the Cavaliers. He had 17 points, 15 assists, and 11 rebounds. In the game, he played before that vs Memphis (did not play vs Pacers because of suspension), he had a double-double with a 15 point, 11 assists night. If you look at his game log there are multiple games where he was close to getting a double-double. Quietly, Payton has been playing some of his best games of the season.
So, the Knicks weren’t able to land D’Angelo Russell in a trade, but Elfrid Payton’s play as of late may be showing Knick fans it was for the best.