2. Gary Payton II, SG, Golden State Warriors
Payton never played a game for the Raptors, but he did win G League Defensive Player of the Year with Raptors 905. It’s hard to criticize Ujiri for many of his moves around the bottom half of the roster, but allowing Payton to be signed by Golden State while Freddie Gillespie came to Toronto was a puzzler.
Averaging 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game might not sound like world-beating production from Payton, but averaging 62% on field goals and 36% on 3-point attempts shows that his unique efficiency and versatility will make him a valuable Raptor in the short-term.
Gary Payton II could cash in with the Toronto Raptors.
Payton is likely going to have the bag thrown at him by Golden State in the offseason, as his unique style proved to be too valuable to their finals run. Toronto’s only chance to bring him back will come via an early free agency overpay.
While he might not possess the 3-point shooting pedigree that some similarly priced free agents will possess, Payton’s unusual style of play could be what this team needs. With Bruce Brown likely too pricy to lure away from the Nets, Payton could be the next best option in the same mold.