The Golden State Warriors proved that super teams don't always get the job done. Instead, the Dubs relied on their home-grown trio Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson, to lead the franchise to another compelling championship. However, the supporting cast was also instrumental. Among them was two-way guard Gary Payton II.
Hitting his stride
GP2 entered the league in 2016 but failed to secure a spot on an NBA team. He had been on and off, taking a few trips back to the G-League from 2017 to 2021. And this past season, the Warriors finally recognized his qualities and gave him a chance to prove himself.
Payton II finished the past season, logging his most NBA games played in a single season with 71 games, 16 as a starter for the Dubs. The 29-year-old may not be lighting up the box score every game, but his impact on the court was intangible yet vital.
Of course, his NBA Hall of Fame dad Gary Payton Sr. couldn't be prouder with his son finally hitting his stride in a renowned franchise such as Golden State.
"I'm happy that it's in the Bay Area, it's with a good Golden State team and they really found a place for him," Payton said of GP2. "They gave him the opportunity he needed. Those other teams wouldn't let him. I knew he could play in the league. He just had to have the right opportunity, and now he does."
Going hard but not too hard
Payton II already got his teammates raving about his two-way game in his first full season with the Warriors. But apart from basketball skills, one thing people often notice was his "signature smile."
Needless to say, Payton II's focus and determination are undeniable. But unlike other NBA rising stars, GP2 is always "chill and relax," which speaks a lot about his epic smiling face. And when asked about how he's able to maintain "such a positive attitude," Payton II said by just regularly listening to some Bob Marley music.
"I listen to a lot of Bob Marley just to ease my mind and chill and relax," Payton II told Fox Sports. "You never know, things can end up like they have now," he said. "I just try to stay positive, listen to Bob and just chill."
Being the newest member of the Portland Trail Blazers, Payton II sure knows the following season and challenges will pose threats and adversity. But we all know he won't worry 'cause every little thing is gonna be alright.