Former Golden State Warriors guard and NBA champion Gary Payton II has earned quite a name for himself in the league. However, the 29-year-old recently opened up about the obstacles that he faced on this journey.
Gary Payton II burst onto the scene last season and became a fan favorite almost immediately. Contributing to the team’s success with his hustle and defensive intensity, Payton was an essential cog in the Warriors’ team.
At 29 years old, the guard has seen a lot of time in the system. However, he only tasted relative success in the NBA recently. After a long and arduous journey, Gary Payton II finally earned a three-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Having established himself as a valuable role player, Payton has finally earned his place in the league. However, the road here hasn’t been easy.
Reflecting on his journey on a recent episode of the “Truth and Basketball” podcast, Payton spoke about the people who doubted him, including his father, NBA legend Gary Payton.
“He told me I was a sorry-a** basketball player. And he told me to get a job or get a scholarship because he wasn’t going to pay for me to get to school.”
Considering that Payton II wasn’t taking basketball seriously in high school, his father decided to light a fire under him. This virtually kickstarted Payton’s journey to make it to the NBA.
After playing four years of college ball and working on his game exhaustively, however, the guard would go undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Fortunately, this did very little to put a damper on his dreams. Working his way between the NBA and the G League, Payton eventually found himself earning a contract with the Golden State Warriors.
While Gary Payton II may not be with the Dubs anymore, he will be remembered for his contributions. Payton will look to be a major contributor for the Portland Trail Blazers next season.
Gary Payton II could be an impact player for the Portland Trail Blazers
By signing Gary Payton II for three years at $28 million, the Portland Trail Blazers have added one of the best on-ball defenders in the league to their roster.
Payton has displayed his ability to lockdown some of the best guards in the league time and time again. With his hustle impacting the culture in Portland, he also brings a lot of value to the young team.
Although he doesn’t have a lot to offer offensively, Payton has all the right traits to be a solid role player. With a knack for shifting momentum with defensive plays or thunderous dunks, the guard could make for an interesting counterpart to Damian Lillard.
Given the moves the Trail Blazers have made in the offseason, the team could be worth looking out for. With Payton also bringing valuable championship experience along with him, Portland could be in for an interesting season.