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"I was wondering if the Mailman came around when I was out of town" - Gary Payton on his son’s Garry Payton II’s athleticism

It was a long road for GPII to get to where he is today as it took multiple rejections for him to finally find a home with the Warriors and win a championship.
Gary Payton on having two sons named "Gary" 5 months apart

Gary Payton and Gary Payton II

Just like his father, Gary Payton II has established himself as one of the best defensive players in the league. But the road wasn’t so easy for the junior, who unlike his father had to climb the ladder to become a champion and get to where he is today. In fact once upon a time, The Glove initially didn’t believe in his son’s talent that he was so surprised to see him develop his game particularly his athleticism on the court.

"He's just an athletic man. I was wondering if the mailman came around when I was out of town. Wherever (his) athletic ability came from, I'm just happy he got it,” the older Payton told NBC Sports’ Monte Poole.

It wasn’t an easy road for GPII

From playing off with short and expiring contracts on the Houston Rockets to the Milwaukee Bucks to the Los Angeles Lakers to the Portland Trail Blazers to the Washington Wizards, GPII found a home with Golden State. The Warriors kept him on a 10-day contract (twice) and at one point even released him only to sign him once again on the first day of the regular season in 2021. This signing ended up being one of the most significant moves for the Warriors that helped them win their 7th franchise title.

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GPII was not only Golden State’s best perimeter defender but he was an essential role player who could stretch and strengthen the team’s overall IQ on the court. He was normally assigned to guard the strongest perimeter player on the opposing team and he did just that successfully. He averaged 6.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals a game during the Playoffs and while his stats don’t necessarily speak for his performance, his intangible contributions especially on the defensive end was what helped propelled the Warriors.

The Warriors haven’t filled the void GPII left

There’s a reason as to why GPII was signed to a 3 year $26,145,000 contract with the Portland Trail Blazers last summer. The skill that he provides is essential to every team and his Playoff run with the Warriors only solidified that. Unfortunately, the Warriors made a big mistake by not re-signing Payton due to their tax and overspending concerns. Because of that, this current Warriors team is missing Payton’s expertise on defense particularly on the point-of-attack.

Who knew that eventually GP2, who was let go by many teams, would find a home in the NBA and be significantly missed by the defending champions? Like his own dad, not many believed that GP2 would make it far in the league but the hours he put into developing his craft and his determination was what led him here. GP2 probably won’t be a basketball Hall of Famer like his father but at the very least he can call himself a champion. 

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