The New York Knicks will rematch with the Washington Wizards on Saturday, Dec. 28. Who are the three players to watch in this game?
On Saturday, the New York Knicks will travel to the nation’s capital for a redemption game. After losing to a depleted Washington Wizards team before Christmas, interim coach Mike Miller‘s squad must overcome a unit that may not even have its best player, along with eyeing a second winning streak.
The momentum will look to carry on from the Brooklyn Nets game, but who are the players to watch against the Wizards? Let’s take a look:
The Knicks have suddenly received the version of Julius Randle once expected in the offseason, when he signed a three-year, $62.3 million contract, becoming the team’s highest-paid player. Since Dec. 11, he is averaging 23.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game on 48.6 percent shooting and 38.6 percent on 3-pointers. It’s the closest play to his time in New Orleans yet, and New York has four wins in this stretch.
In the last matchup against Washington, Randle had 35 points and five rebounds. If the Wizards are severely shorthanded again, look for another dominant performance inside. Note that Thomas Bryant is questionable to play.
Gary Payton II
From G League talent to overnight sensation, Gary Payton II broke out in his season debut for Washington, racking up 10 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and six steals in the upset win over New York. He had NBA stints over the past three seasons, but nothing compared to that.
The follow-up game was not as spectacular, but Payton still had a very good 10 points, five rebounds, five assists, one steal and two blocks in a 30-point loss to the Detroit Pistons.
Payton is showing a bit of everything in his early NBA career. The sample size is small, but he should receive more chances to shine against a Knicks team that’s also facing injuries. Plus, with the ability to fill up the stat sheet, he should be a flier candidate for fantasy teams.
One of the few regulars to remain healthy, Troy Brown recently torched the Knicks for 27 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in the Dec. 23 win. He followed it with 13 points, six rebounds and six assists against Detroit.
Potentially without Bradley Beal, Brown should receive even more opportunities to stand out. There are few others in his way for shot attempts and he could approach up to 20 in this game.