Gary Payton II had plenty of defensive role models growing up, starting with his Hall of Fame father, writes Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. That helped him develop a mindset that he has carried with him to all his NBA stops, including the Warriors, where he has carved out a role as a disruptive presence off the bench.
Playing on a partially guaranteed contract, Payton has been an important contributor to Golden State’s 15-2 start. He brings a brashness to his defensive approach, along with a willingness to take on the opponent’s best scorer, priding himself in playing the old-school defense he watched as a child.
“The league already made it where guys don’t like to be touched,” he said. “So I’m just gon’ touch ’em. It’s that simple. As you can see … a lot of guys don’t like to be touched. Nobody touches them. Nobody’s in their face. They let them do what they want to do. I’m not about to let you sit here and size me up. No. I’m not about to let you do that. You gon’ go one way. If not, you gon’ get up off that ball. And it’s gon’ be hard for you to get it back. By the time you get it back, you gon’ be tired and you gon’ settle. Let’s go.”
There’s more on the Warriors:
- Whenever James Wiseman returns from meniscus surgery, Golden State will have one of the best center rotations in the league, contends Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. The position is currently being held down by Kevon Looney, Draymond Green and Nemanja Bjelica, and the addition of Wiseman will give the group a little of everything. “He brings a whole different look to our team from a size standpoint and from a vertical standpoint,” Looney said of Wiseman. “He’s able to score at a high level down in the post. He’s a natural scorer. So, he’ll give a different look with his athleticism, being able to block shots and play above the rim. I’m excited to see him get out there. We play two different styles.”
- It’s easy for Looney to get overlooked with all the talent the Warriors have, but he has figured out how to complement his more famous teammates, observes Nekias Duncan of Basketball News.
- Klay Thompson has been impressed with the progress of third-year guard Jordan Poole, who is currently filling his spot in the starting lineup, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “He’s playing way above where he was picked at 26,” Thompson said. “He’s looking like he should have been a lotto pick.”