Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gary Payton: Most Complete Point Guard Ever

Recently Gary Payton was elected into the basketball Hall Of Fame and it was more then well deserved. I Payton who is known to be the Greatest Defensive Point Guard Of All-Time and the only one to win defensive player of the year still may not get his just due in terms of how great he was. I'm sure if you are sitting in a barbershop talking basketball like many do across the country and you guys are having an argument about who the greatest Point Guard Of All-Time is I'm sure people will name plenty of guys who are more flashy like Magic Johnson or Isaiah Thomas. They might name 6 or 7 guys before you hear the name Gary Payton. They're are plenty of Great Point guards in NBA history but is there one who is as well balanced on both sides of the Floor as Gary Payton? In other words does the Offense matchup with the defense.

Gary Payton is the Most complete well balanced guard of All-time. He could command and facilitate an offense along with scoring the basketball and guarding your best player. GP's impact in his prime stretches far beyond the stat sheet though. In Sports we talk about guys in sports who have “Intangibles”, guys who do things that don't show up on stat sheets. Gary has plenty of intangibles particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Many guys in the NBA only excel in 1 type of defense whether it's man to man or team defenses such as a zone defense. Gary had the ability to excel at both and do it at an elite level, I think Kevin Johnson said it best” You think of guys with great hands, like Maurice Cheeks and Derek Harper. Gary is like that. But he's also a great individual defender and a great team defender. He has all three components covered. That's very rare”. It's those abilities coupled with the fact that he is one of the best trash talkers in NBA history that Make Payton's impact stretch far beyond the stat sheet. Dominant Center Shaquille O'Neal expressed the following about Gary's trash talking “He Didn't care, The crazy thing was the way he was on the court was the same way off of it”.

Payton is a world class trash talker and knew how to get into peoples head but there is no greater evidence this than when he took on Michael Jordan in

Game 4 of the 1996 NBA Finals. In the first 3 games Gary didn't guard MJ due to a calf injury but when the Bulls took three straight Coach George Karl decided it was time for GP to get his shot at MJ. The whole Night Gary made things tough on MJ fronting him, Forcing turnovers and just making him work for every little inch of offense. The result was a 6-19 inefficient 31% shooting Night for Jordan and everybody could see Payton was in his head. Jordan Said this after the game about his bad night and Gary Payton Guarding Him “No one can stop me, I can only stop myself. I missed some easy shots “. Things got testy in the later games with GP and MJ going face to face at each other, Gary “The Glove” got no Love from MJ.

For People who Like Stats Payton had those too. From 1992 to 1999 he averaged 2 steals a more in a game which also included averaging 2.9 steals a game in 1995-1996 which was the year he became the only Point Guard in the History of the NBA to win Defensive Player Of The Year. He was a 9 time All-Star and made 9 straight All-NBA 1st team for defense from 1994-2002. Then he cemented his legacy when he won a championship with 2006 Miami Heat as a role player.

Payton did a lot of things that no player or Point Guard has done in this league ever. Lakers legend and Hall of Famer may have said it best about Payton though “Probably as complete a guard as there ever was”. Payton could talk but knew how to back it up, he feared nobody and talked to everybody. Gary Payton is the Most well balanced point guard of All-Time......Unless your in a barbershop.


  1. I've been a Payton fan since way back... in fact, I have a small collection of his cardboard too. And outside of the fact that he's a Bay Area guy, the #1 reason I loved watching him play was his D and no fear attitude.

    It's hard to argue his all-around game... but if I were building my all-time team... Magic and Oscar would be my two point guards. And if I added a third, I'd probably add Stockton before ever considering The Glove.

  2. I can see Magic or Oscar they are top 5 players in the History of basketball but Stockton might be a bit of a stretch for me. It depends how you want to build your team for me I'd build a team based on defense and that side of the foor so naturally I'd take Payton.

    I'm trying to grow My basketball collection would love me some Payton on cardboard or some Charlotte Hornets Im really happy the names coming back to Charlotte.

  3. B Taylor you make some interesting points on GP. I've heard Barkley say he thought Payton was the best PG ever. Sometimes people do not count Magic because Byron Scott used to guard some of the shorter quicker PGs and Magic initiated the offense.
    I would say Isaiah's 2 rings would propel him slightly above Payton but the argument for Payton can certainly be made. He did make it to the finals and challenged the UN-Beat-A-Bulls. I liked your analysis and he is light years ahead of Stockton.

  4. Thanks and yes the fact that Isaiah actually was a huge road block for the Bulls has to be the determining factor in why he is better then Payton. I never knew that fact about Magic,Byron Scott and the Lakers I just assumed Magic guarded whoever because of his body frame. Thanks your analysis was on point too and yeah GP over Stockton. Love John Stockton but If I'm building franchise I'm taking GP all day.


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