New York Knicks: Point guard power rankings after preseason opener

New York Knicks (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)
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1. player. 27. . . . Elfrid Payton

Ntilikina and Smith fall into their respective spots due to where Elfrid Payton stands among the pack. Per SNY’s Ian Begley, “several players privately told friends” that the newcomer at point guard is “playing his way into the starting point guard job.”

The first report on where this position stands, it, obviously, puts Payton into a positive light. Starting the preseason opener, even without Smith, helped, with five points, two rebounds, five assists and two steals in 25 minutes.

Payton has extensive starting experience, as most games he’s appeared in with the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans came as the lead point guard. Plus, his career 6.6 assists to 2.5 turnovers is sharp, and in the same article from Begley, Fizdale said the 2014 lottery pick “set the tone” for the game:

"“He set the tone for the game on the ball and with his pace. He got a lot of people involved, kept us organized,” he said. “Steady and tough.”"

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The praise is notable along with Payton’s reported standing. He seemingly impressed the coaching staff through training camp, and while he may never run away with the job, Fizdale favored the passing point guards in 2018-19 (e.g Emmanuel Mudiay); that should play into how many games he starts this season and influence the eventual 2020-21 salary situation in late June.