Atlantic Notes: Payton, Raptors, LeVert, Johnson

Elfrid Payton remains the starting point guard for the Knicks ahead of breakout rookie Immanuel Quickley and veteran off-guard Austin Rivers thanks to Payton’s solid defense, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau was diplomatically effusive in his praise of both Payton and Quickley, the latter of whom Berman notes has become a fan favorite. “I love both guys — they’re different and bring different things to the team,’’ Thibodeau said Sunday. “Elfrid, when you look at his defense and size, a lot of these guards, particularly point guards in the NBA today, they’re a load to deal with. Elfrid has a good understanding how to defend them.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets-turned-Pacers wing Caris LeVert was notified by Brooklyn GM Sean Marks during their 2020 offseason that he might be traded in 2020/21, according to J Michael of the Indianapolis Star“Sean was very honest with me from the first time the rumors came out. He told me don’t rule it out,” LeVert said. “I didn’t know it was going to happen. I just knew that it was a possibility and there was a lot of speculation.” 
  • With the Raptors having finally established a consistent rotation, the team is rebounding from an ugly beginning to its season, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. Toronto is on a three-game win streak following a 2-8 start. “I think that we’re continuing to find out things about our team that are improving the team,” head coach Nick Nurse said yesterday. “Guys are comfortable with the guys that we’re putting out there and I think those guys have chipped in pretty considerably.
  • Hustling in practice has carved out a rotation role for Raptors reserve forward Stanley Johnson, per Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. “I think the important quality is that he’s maintained … a really strong work ethic day in and day out, which isn’t easy to do for somebody who’s been in the league for a while when you’re not hitting the court for really long stretches of time,” Nurse said. Johnson is averaging 14.7 MPG for Toronto in 11 contests.
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31 thoughts on “Atlantic Notes: Payton, Raptors, LeVert, Johnson

  1. KnickerbockerAl

    The Post is not news. It’s all about selling stories. And not really concerned about facts. Just selling, Murdoch business. Berman the Knick hater at it again. Why effusive, he’s just speaking truth. If Nttilikina and Smith weren’t hurt. We might not have gotten to see Quickly this quickly. There’s no need to rush considering most including Berman . All thought of him as undersized SG or combo guard. He’s coming along just fine. He needs to learn to run the team. Payton is playing well enough. We don’t to need to put more pressure on Quickly. We lucked out with him for sure. Knicks do really need to play the other guards so we can trade them. So playing them has to be a priority IMO.

  2. KnickerbockerAl

    I did say Bklyn will have to address their D at some point. Cavs are not a top offensive team. Kyrie with 3 ast in 50 mins. Only one gm I know. They have to handle this. Sooner the better. I know they can sign players with their exceptions. But their best move could be trading Dinwiddie. He’s out for the yr. And it’s not a serious career threatening injury. Good sign is Harden is trying to fit in. Give it 30 gms.

    • formerlyz

      I actually had Cleveland +11 and moneyline in that game, although that was before I knew Garland was still out…

      Steve Nash still hasnt figured out how to run an NBA rotation. He fills out his lineup like a child. They need more balance on the floor with their starters and their bench. Bruce Brown should be a starter regardless. Jeff Green should come off the bench. If one of Kyrie or Harden is out, TLC should probably get that spot. Obviously, they’d be a little smaller at the guard spot, but they already play small, and Brown would improve their defense, and would fit offensively as a ball mover and floor space, while Jeff Green can help their bench scoring, and give them some length in that unit…

  3. I mean they’ve got Nash and Antoni in charge so it’s ‘let’s outscore the other team’, and only KD plays genuinely good D. James Harden has moments – he’s surprisingly good defending the post.

    • formerlyz

      Despite the way I talk about Harden, he has always been capable as a defender; he just doesnt actually make that effort most of the time, at least since he left OKC. It’s not necessarily a surprise to see him defend adequately, it’s more a surprise to see him actually try to…as a post defender, he knows how to use his strength to stay in decent position and keep guys off spots, which generally takes less effort than defending pick and roll, chasing someone around screens, closing out to guys, or helping the helper

  4. Northern Expansion 416

    Raps need to sign Dedmon or Skal Labissier then trade Powell,McCaw,Mat Thomas & a second round pick for a Derozen-Raptors reunion… Maybe nets sign the recently waived Alex Len…

      • Northern Expansion 416

        Why do you hastily reply to me??? Did I ask about your views????

        • osaegthong

          well yk derozan is gunna be a FA next year so idk. if they trade for derozan, then da rotation will be: lowry, vanvleet, derozan, siakam, dedmon or skal
          bench: flynn, davis, anunoby, favors or aminu, boucher
          Thats quite an intriguing lineup. btw i am a raptors fan but too bad i cant change my profile pic. it just says error submitted. i only became a nets fan cuz i thot da raptors were just gunna end up like da pistons

          • formerlyz

            I actually dont think a trade for DeRozan is that great…Toronto needs shooting at the 2/3 spots, but he doesnt give you that, and giving away certain pieces just creates more of a need.

            • Northern Expansion 416

              They lack a allstar caliber wing aswell as a quality starter at center…

    • osaegthong

      and then trade davis or baynes for favors or aminu for defense or something

        • osaegthong

          if we pickup dedmon or skal, baynes is just gunna suck up all of da salary cap. we dont need three centers we also got boucher. we just need a quality 4 and another all star and we’re good to go

          • Northern Expansion 416

            In that case Baynes would obviously be traded. Indeed if Dedmon or Skal are acquired then Baynes becomes expendable…

            • osaegthong

              well baynes had a nice game against da pacers today u think he gunna keep those numbers up lol

              • Northern Expansion 416

                Baynes is been mostly miss & one hit… That’s maybe his second good game entirely…

                • osaegthong

                  yup, prob. hes pretty much an unreliable big most of ds time. last time he had a good game that was a few months ago 13/7 line… lol hes a liability on shooting. prob being a try hard cuz he knows len had got cut.

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