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Gary Payton II, 6’3” Combo Guard, Oregon State, 23 years old
No matter what he does, where he goes, or how he plays, Gary Payton II will always be compared to his father, the NBA point guard legend Gary “The Glove” Payton. It is already obvious that Payton II will not be his father. He has great basketball skills, but not on the level of his father, or the top prospects in this draft. With that being said, what does Gary Payton II bring to the table for an NBA team, and where should he be taken in the 2016 NBA Draft?
Gary Payton II is very athletic. He has performed some incredible highlight dunks. Payton II scores very well in transition because of his speed and tremendous leaping ability. Payton II averaged 1.12 points per possession in transition and also shot 65% around the rim. He relies on his quickness and explosiveness, and it does work in transition very well.
Payton II’s defense is right up there with the best prospects in the draft. Oregon State plays a zone defense, so Payton II did not get to showcase much man to man defense during his time in college. Based on what he’s done in the zone though, it looks like Payton II will be a lockdown defender at the guard position. He has great instincts also. He is great at seeing the passing lanes and intercepting the ball, and then scoring in on the fast break. His 2.8 steals per game average in his two years at Oregon State were a big reason that he scored so much, and so well in transition. Gary Payton II’s athletic ability and nose for the ball also translated to his rebounding numbers. In his two years, he averaged 7.5 and 7.8 rebounds per game.
Gary Payton II is a great athlete, but he’s not a great basketball player compared to the NBA level. At the age of 23, his upside and potential are limited. What he has shown in his time at Oregon State is most likely everything he has to contribute to an NBA team. There probably won’t be any dramatic improvements in his game.
Payton II is a great scorer on fast breaks, but when it comes down to half court offense, he will struggle in the NBA. He doesn’t have great playmaking skills to create opportunities for himself or his teammates. His ball handling leaves much to be desired, especially for a point guard. The most likely reason Payton II will fall to the second round is the fact that his jump shot is completely unreliable. He has no mid-range shot. He also barely shot over 30% from three point range in his career at Oregon State. If his jump shot was reliable, he would be a great 3-and-D prospect. Instead, he’s only able to prove his worth on the defensive end.
Gary Payton II will be a bench player, a role player. He will not see starter’s minutes on an NBA team unless that team is in a really bad situation. Payton II cannot create his own shot consistently. He has weak ball handling skills for a point guard. His jump shot can not be relied on. His defense will be his greatest asset. He could provide energy off the bench for a team between 6-12 minutes in a game.
NBA Player Comparison
When someone says: “a guard with limited offensive game and great defense”, the first person people think of is Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen. Allen and Payton II is a decent comparison, but it’s not the best. Payton II is more athletic than Allen, and Allen is a better on-ball defender.
The best comparison for Gary Payton II is Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard Andre Roberson. Roberson, measured at 6’7”, is four inches taller than Payton II, but that is basically the only difference between the two. Both play great, not elite, defense and have a knack for stealing the ball in the passing lanes. Both are very athletic and score most of their points in transition. Both are lackluster shooters but have improved a bit over the years. Roberson plays 18-22 minutes per game, which is more than Payton II will play. Both still have very similar styles of play, they’re just different sizes.
Living under the shadow of an NBA legend is difficult, but Gary Payton II seems determined to shed that away and make his own path. He is not as talented as his father, and will make his own path on a team’s bench. But that doesn’t mean that he won’t have a long career or will be unimportant to a team’s success. Any team that gets him late in the second round would be getting a great value pick. There are a lot of other prospects in the draft, so be sure to check out the other top NBA player draft profiles.