NBA Position: PG
Hands: Length (8.75) x (9.0) Width
Hometown: Gretna, LA
SELECTED NO. 10 OVERALL BY THE PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
- Elite Burst, First Step
- Quick, Shifty Point Guard
- Defensive Play-Maker
- Aggressive Penatrator
- Court Vision
- Quality Passer
- Team Defense
- Inconsistent Shooter
- Small School Prospect
Over the past year Payton went from a relative unknown to an impact player on Team USA this season. Payton was given opportunity and took full advantage of it at Louisiana-Lafayette as the star of the Sun Belt Conference and carried that momentum into the summer.
Payton is a dynamic athlete for a small school point guard with his elite length and quickness. Traditionally a small school guard is a non-athlete that scores from the perimeter, but Payton is the inverse of that.
There are very few basketball players that have the quickness Payton has with the ball in his hands. He turns the corner with the ball in his hands off the bounce or in a pick-and-roll setting as well as any point guard in the country. Last year he was in the 83rd percentile in pick-and-roll situations according to Synergy Sports Data scoring with a fairly low turnover percentage.
As a play-maker Payton does a great job in transition, but is even more effective in the half-court controlling the pace.
He is able to get around defenders attacking the rim to create opportunities for himself and others. At the rim Payton is not an explosive finisher. Despite his great size and length he is frail and is more effective as a finesse finisher getting to the free-throw line. Payton creates contact in the paint getting to the free-throw line at a high rate. The competition level is lesser in a small school conference where Payton plays, but his explosion was on full display in practice as well as games at the FIBA U19 Tournament.
Shooting is not a strength of Payton’s at this point in his development. For his career he is a 27.6% three-point shooter (improved 32% last year) and is susceptible from the perimeter. In spot-up, catch-and-shoot, and off-screen shooting situations he shot 33% last year. It accounted for 35.2% of his shot attempts last showing it has to improve as defenses can focus in on that and take away the speed game from Payton at this point in his development.
Defensively Payton has play-making ability as a ball-hawk off the ball as seen this summer with Team USA.
On the ball Payton is a quality defender, but relies primarily on his athletic ability and speed to defend perimeter players. Off the ball he has the instincts and quickness to make plays on the ball causing turnovers. In nine games with Team USA he was credited with 21 steals and caused more than his fair share of turnovers, rushed shots, and forced shots at the end of shot clocks.
Last year he looked stronger as an off ball defender against cutters, screens, and spot-up shooters. He closes out strong and forces either poor shots or turnovers off the ball. On the ball he improved as an isolation defender, but struggled against the pick-and-roll defending the play and options that open up from it.
Overall Payton plays with great energy, quickness, and speed on both ends of the floor allowing him to be a play-maker on both ends. He is not polished offensively needing to add strength and more consistency to his shooting, but has potential sue to his length, athleticism, instincts, and blazing first step.