Point Guard Gary Payton II
Gary Payton II is an intriguing senior prospect out of Oregon State University. He is the son of NBA Hall-of-Famer Gary Payton, who was coached by Indiana Pacers’ head coach Nate McMillan. This connection makes Payton II a viable option for the Pacers in the second round.
Payton II is a very good all-around player. His excellent play earned him All-PAC-12 first-team honors in his two with the Beavers. He averaged 16 points, 7.9 rebounds, five assists and 2.5 steals per game in his final season. While he has solid offensive skills, Payton II’s strengths are on the defensive side of the ball.
Defense is synonymous with the Payton family. Gary Payton was an elite defender in NBA, and now, his son has taken on a similar skill set. In two years at OSU, Payton II was the PAC-12 defensive player of the year twice.
"“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 Pacers have conundrum at point guard. Monta Ellis and George Hill are not true point guards, but they currently make up their starting backcourt. Meanwhile, Rodney Stuckey is only a bench player, and Ty Lawson may leave the team this offseason.
In today’s NBA, teams need athletic and lengthy guards to counteract one another. Payton II has both of those qualities. Given the Pacers’ current guard depth, he would not start immediately, but he would get minutes.
The Pacers have shown some interest in Payton II. He participated in their workout on June 2nd. Also, another benefit for Payton II is he has known McMillan since he was a little boy. McMillan played and coached Payton II’s father with the Seattle Supersonics and met the now 23-year-old prospect during that time.
Payton II is definitely one of the top second round prospects on the Indiana Pacers’ draft board. If the Pacers do not take a point guard in the first round, Gary Payton II should be a player they will target in the second round.
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