A player who continues to search for his golden opportunity. Gary Payton II finally grabs another shot in the G League as being selected 15th overall by the Raptors 905. Now, with a new chapter, Payton seeks to continue to play at a high level with a new team.
Payton’s experience in the G League
G League fans may already be familiar with Payton. No, it is not only because he is the son of one of the NBA’s greatest trash talkers. It is because he was a part of a championship roster for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The Vipers went 34-16 in their 2019 championship season, basically taking over the G League single handedly. Payton was a huge piece in the Vipers’ championship season by providing excellence on the floor. Payton also did a tremendous job as a phenomenal playmaker for his teammates.
Payton has worked diligently to find his landing spot in the NBA. He’s had a few opportunities with some teams, but the tenure never turned out to become long term. Payton has played for NBA organizations in the Lakers, Wizards, and Bucks. When he gets the opportunity to have the ball in his hands, more times than none he never disappoints. Payton is a player who plays with an effectiveness and is willing to make the hustle plays. His demeanor on the floor is what gives him an edge against certain opponents he’s faced against.
Where to improve upon?
Although Payton shows NBA potential, there’s still some parts to his game where he can improve upon before he grabs a permanent role in the NBA. One spot can be perimeter shooting, particularly the three point line. Payton shoots a career 28% from three and 67% from the free throw line. If it wasn’t for his ability to penetrate to the rim, it would be impossible for his field goal percentage to be 49%.
The defense will begin to trap Payton and force him to beat them from the outside. Although he does show signs of getting in rhythm shooting, it hasn’t been on a consistent level. Numerous coaches of other teams will disrespect Payton at the top of the key and leave him space to fire a shot. Sooner or later, Payton will need to make those teams pay the price for the disrespect.
Another key for Payton to improve upon is limiting turnovers. During his brief time in the NBA, Payton tended to have costly turnovers that could’ve made a difference. Payton’s ability to take care of the basketball at the point guard position is key in order to continue his development. Moving forward, it will become his responsibility to watch out for accidentally stepping out of bounds and allowing defenders to strip the ball. To be the floor general for the team, Payton must take better care of the basketball.
What does Payton bring to the Raptors?
Now that he is drafted, what does Gary Payton II bring to this 905 team? Well, the first thing you must count on is experience. Payton winning a championship with the Vapers solidifies that he understands what it takes to win. The Raptors 905 are a team who need someone to help them find a rhythm. Although they got great production out of their top players in Stanley Johnson and Henry Ellenson, the team lacked defensive prowess and they need a spark on that end of the floor.
Although Payton can struggle at times on offense, there’s without question that his defense can be top tier. His awareness of what is going on can provide a spark for his new team. The Raptors 905 were ranked number 11 on defense with a defensive rating of 48.2 a season ago. The numbers show that on many occasions, the communication on that end of the floor was not there. If Payton can come in and provide a spark with the way he plays on ball defense, it may only do wonders for this team going forward. It only takes one player to help a team take a huge leap in an area.
Gary Payton II still shows potential to become a good player. He may not be ready to become a franchise point guard, but his ability to play the game shows that he can make a huge leap soon. Being drafted by the Raptors 905 could be a wonderful opportunity for Payton to take his game to the level of development .