Blazers’ Gary Payton II To Miss Start of Regular Season

Portland Trail Blazers’ newly-acquired defensive wing Gary Payton II will miss the start of the regular season.

gary payton II
Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

As he is still recovering from abdominal surgery, Portland Trail Blazers swingman Gary Payton II will miss at least a couple of weeks more before he will be re-evaluated. Payton underwent that surgery due to a core muscle injury, and the good news is that he is progressing well in his rehab.

Payton, who went undrafted during the 2016 NBA Draft, has established his name as one of the most versatile defenders in the league today. Even though he only stands at 6-foot-3, Payton has the athleticism and defensive instincts that allow him to guard players that are taller and bigger than him. He spent a large chunk of his career in the NBA G League, before carving a niche in the Golden State Warriors roster and helping them win the 2022 NBA championship.

Gary Payton II, who is the son of Hall of Famer and former NBA Defensive Player of the Year Gary Payton, averaged 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.4 steals last season. His ability in locking down the best players on the opposing team was a valuable asset for the Warriors’ successful title run. However, the Dubs didn’t have the financial flexibility to re-sign Payton, so the Blazers’ front office grabbed the opportunity.

The Blazers had a lot of competitors for Payton’s services, but they ultimately won the sweepstakes. Payton inked a three-year, $26 million deal with the Blazers, a hefty payday that he rightfully deserves. Even though he doesn’t score a lot or dish out a high number of assists, his basketball smarts and defensive versatility will provide a winning impact for the Blazers.

The Blazers will visit the Sacramento Kings for their season opener on October 19.

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