With public gyms shut down in one of the COVID-19 epicenters, New Orleans, Elfrid Payton hasn’t been able to work on his 3-point shot during the coronavirus pandemic.
But the Knicks’ starting point guard, quarantining in the Big Easy, is doing a lot of running and about to take up piano. It’s fitting considering Payton hails from the hub of live music.
Payton says everyone should have a musical skill.
“I’m trying to learn an instrument,’’ Payton said during a video chat Saturday on the Knicks’ Twitter account. “I’m still trying to figure out what instrument I want to learn. I’m leaning toward the piano, but I want to learn an instrument.”
Payton has strong ties to New Orleans, attending small-school Louisiana-Lafayette and becoming a lottery pick in 2014, taken by the Magic when Knicks GM Scott Perry worked for them.
Payton said he has donated 10,000 masks to New Orleans medical facilities.
“I just tried to help out by giving masks,’’ Payton said. “To the people that’s on the front lines and in the doctor’s office. It’s scary what this thing is doing to people around the world. For them to be there and risk their lives and take care of these people, I think it was important to reach out and help them. And the best way I thought to do that was the mask.”
Payton became Perry’s best free-agent signing — a one-year, $8 million deal with a team option for 2021-22. During a 14-game stretch in February and March when the Knicks were 7-7, Payton averaged 12.3 points, 8.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds while posting a triple-double. His connection with Julius Randle — dating to when they played for New Orleans together last season — was crystal clear.