Although the Golden State Warriors did not make any major moves before the trade deadline back in March, the team still continues to fiddle with their roster. On Thursday, the Warriors signed Gary Payton II to a 10-day contract. Ready to make an impact in Golden State, in a recent interview, Payton went into detail about his intentions and his initial conversations with his new head coach Steve Kerr.
Payton II Gets Honest
The progress of Golden State’s defense is what has kept them competitive for the most part this season. By signing the son of Hall of Famer Gary Payton, the Warriors are hoping to add some extra help on the defensive side. Payton II was the G League’s Defensive Player of the Year and he’s eager to bring his contribution to the Bay Area. In a recent interview during practice, Payton II went into detail about his first conversations with Kerr, per the Warriors’ SoundCloud.
I told him, you know why I’m here. I’m not afraid to guard anybody on the other team at all. There’s no secrets to what I do, I’m here to possibly guard the best player on the opposite team. So I’ll do that and do what I do on the offensive side without the ball and try to make plays and just be as aggressive as much I can in this offense and just try to help out.
The 28-year-old is a left-handed guard who has played sporadically in the NBA beginning in 2016. In his 61 games with three different organizations, he has averaged 12.6 minutes, 3.5 points, and 2.3 rebounds. His shooting percentage is 41.4% from the field and 25.6% from the three. He has not been a part of an NBA roster yet this season but made an impact in the G League bubble where he played for the Raptors 905. There he averaged 10.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists with an average of 21.8 minutes per game.
The former Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year has been bouncing back and forth between the NBA and the G League since 2016. He has been a part of the Washington Wizards, Milwaukee Bucks, and the Los Angeles Lakers. In his five seasons in the G League, Payton has experienced winning one championship with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in 2019. He is also the reigning G League Defensive Player of the Year.
Apparently, the Warriors have been eyeing Payton II for a few years. Kerr has acknowledged that he has good defensive intelligence and how it could greatly benefit the Warriors. “I know he’s an excellent defender, said Kerr per the Warriors’ SoundCloud. “Smart, tough. Someone our organization has had an eye on for the last couple years.”
Will the Newest Addition Get Playing Time?
There is a decent amount of young talent at the guard position on the Warriors’ roster so it isn’t guaranteed that Payton II will immediately be given a lot of playing time. However, it’s sure that the younger Payton will be ready to show his defensive skill once Kerr gives him the opportunity.
“I know he’s going to throw me in when he can, Payton II said. Then I’ll do what I do. He said to be aggressive and take open shots. I think we’re on the same page, and he knows what I’m here for, to guard the best person, so I think we had had a nice little conversation.”
Signing a 10-day contract with the Warriors, or any team for that matter means that the pressure is on immediately. With not a lot of playing time being expected Payton II has to make sure that he demonstrates his best effort with every possession. The Warriors face off against the Washington Wizards on Friday which is also the first game that Payton II will be available. This will hopefully be his time to show the league why he deserves a spot on any roster.
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