NBA Draft workouts are going on in preparation for the June 23rd event. During the ordeal, prospects are often asked who influences them through their process. For Gary Payton II, he tries to model his play after one San Antonio Spur: Kawhi Leonard.
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The name may sound familiar to you, and if you would have guessed, you may have been right. Payton II father is Hall of Famer Gary. The elder Payton was one of the NBA’s foremost defensive players during his days in the NBA. “The Glove” was also a master of mouthing off, as quick with his gibes as he was with his hands.
Of course his father plays a huge role in his game, but he also stated to the Arizona Republic that he models his game after some of current league’s top players. “Tony Allen, Kawhi Leonard and a little splash of (Russell) Westbrook. All defensive-minded, get the offense going and a one-man fast break.”
Looking at the players mentioned, Payton II does not have a lack of taste. Take Allen for instance: he is a four time All-Defensive Selection. Then there is Westbrook. The athleticism is uncanny. And then Leonard, who is coming off of his second-consecutive Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Payton II was named the Pac-12’s Defensive Player of the Year in each of his two seasons with the Beavers.
He stands 6-foot-3 with a 6-8 wingspan. Leonard measures in at 6-7 with an absurd 7-foot-3 wingspan.
Leonard also was projected as a starter almost immediately, while the future of Payton II is more ambiguous. It doesn’t hurt to aspire to greatness, and Payton II could choose far worse influences than the league’s MVP runner-up.
Payton II is projected to be a mid-second round pick.