Portland Trail Blazers guard Gary Payton II has been listed as obtainable for Monday’s sport in opposition to the Detroit Pistons, which shall be each his season debut and his Blazers debut. Payton underwent belly surgical procedure within the offseason and has been out recovering ever since.
Payton was one of many breakout gamers of final season as a member of the Golden State Warriors. He received a roster spot over Avery Bradley at coaching camp and proceeded to carve out a task for himself as a defensive stopper. Payton, the son of 1996 Defensive Player of the Year Gary Payton, has at all times excelled on that finish of the ground. But final season, he not solely began making 3-pointers, however thrived as a screener and finisher within the pick-and-roll.
Payton finally proved important to Golden State’s championship run. When he turned a free agent this offseason, the Warriors, who’ve a historic luxurious tax invoice, selected to not match the supply made by Portland. That allowed Payton, who had solely ever performed for the minimal, to ink a three-year, $26 million cope with the Blazers.
Portland has ranked close to the underside of the NBA in protection a number of years in a row, however the Blazers have been barely higher this season. They rank twenty third in protection as of this writing. That’s nothing to jot down dwelling about, however over the previous three seasons, they’ve by no means completed higher than twenty seventh.
With Payton returning, the Blazers ought to solely proceed to enhance defensively. This will at all times be a staff that wins by scoring, however Payton must be a useful step towards the steadiness they’ve looked for years.
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