Gary Payton II participated in the Indiana Pacers’ pre-draft workout on June 2nd. His presence at the workout and his unique relationship with head coach Nate McMillan makes him an intriguing second round pick for the Pacers.
As one could figure out, Payton II is the son of Hall-of Fame point guard Gary Payton. Payton II is well-aware that there will always be comparisons between him and his father. At first, he did not like it, but he has grown accustomed to it and does not worry about it.
Payton II was an exceptional basketball player in college. While he is not viewed as a first round talent, he is certainly worth taking anywhere in the second round.
Payton II proved he was very good all-around player in his final year at Oregon State University. As a senior, Payton averaged 16 points, 7.9 rebounds, five assists and 2.5 steals per game.
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Of course, when people thinks about the Payton family, they always think about defense. Payton II has the same defensive mindset that made his father so successful in the NBA. In two years at OSU, he was the PAC-12 defensive player of the year while also making the All-PAC-12 first-team twice.
Payton II has the NBA pedigree and college statistics to warrant a second round selection. The Pacers have the 50th pick overall, which would be a perfect spot to take Payton II. Also, Pacers’ head coach Nate McMillan would love to player he has known for a very long time.
McMillan has known Payton II since he was a child. When his father played for the Seattle Supersonics (1990-2003), a young Payton II would join him at practices and games. As a result, Payton II developed a close relationship with McMillan, who played with and coached his father during that time period. “He’s like an uncle to me,” Payton II said.
Although Pacers’ head coach McMillian was not at the fifth pre-draft workout, it is safe to say McMillan would be open to coaching Payton II.
Despite his many positives, scouts and analysts believe Payton II needs to work on his perimeter shooting. The bulk of his points can from the free throw line and driving to the basket. His ability to shoot pullup and spot up jump shots will determine whether or not he will a long-term NBA player.
DraftExpress’ Matt Kamalsky had this to say about Payton II’s draft stock overall.
"“A year older than many of his peers in the senior class, Payton is a somewhat unique prospect considering his sudden rise to prominence from the junior college level and NBA pedigree. Lacking a degree of high level experience, Payton’s combination of athleticism, defensive potential, and solid playmaking ability make him a fairly intriguing prospect nonetheless. More raw than many players his age, Payton’s lack of great polish as a shooter and ball handler are concerns, but also areas that he could conceivably make strides in down the road.”"
The Indiana Pacers played three point guards regularly during the 2015-16 season: George Hill, Rodney Stuckey and Ty Lawson. These three are solid veterans, but they are best suited in complementary roles rather than feature roles. No one is advocating that Payton II is better than these three veterans right now, but Payton II does have the potential to eventually surpass them.
The NBA is becoming a guard-centric league, and teams need athletic and lengthy guards to counteract one another. Payton II has both of those qualities. Even if he does not start immediately as a rookie, his skills defensively should allow him to play 15-20 minutes per game with the Pacers.
Payton II has a lot of potential for a second round pick. The Indiana Pacers should strongly consider taking him with the 50th pick overall, if he is still available.