We all remember Gary Payton II, the do-everything guard that ended Oregon State's 26-year NCAA tournament drought by leading the Beavers to the big dance in 2016.
In case you are one of the six people that don't remember Payton II, here's a refresher: That 2015-16 season, as a senior, Payton II averaged 16.0 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game, 5.0 assists per game, and 2.5 steals per game. In addition to his all-around stat-stuffing, he also won the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award for the second straight season, making him the only player in conference history to win the award twice.
After leaving Corvallis, Payton II played one season with the NBA Developmental League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers, a season highlighted by a 51-point outburst against the Los Angeles D-Fenders while his father (Hall-of-Famer Gary "The Glove" Payton) was in attendance.
This season, Payton II holds a two-way contract with the Milwaukee Bucks and their D-League counterpart, the Wisconsin Herd. The Bucks can essentially call him up when needed and then—without losing rights to him as one of their players—send him back to the Herd if they feel that his professional development would be better served while playing at that level.
Tonight, due to Milwaukee All-Star guard Giannis Antetokounempo being ruled out with knee soreness, Payton II earned his first career NBA start against the Phoenix Suns in a game that his Bucks won in overtime by a score of 113-107.
Unfortunately, Payton II only played 9 total minutes in the game—mostly due to four first half fouls, though the Bucks did rule him out for the second half after he suffered an ankle sprain sometime earlier in the game. In the limited run that Payton II was able to get, he managed to score 5 points on 2-5 shooting, grab 2 rebounds, and dish out 3 assists while the Bucks had a +/- of +5 with him on the court.
While Payton II's numbers aren't immediately impressive, they do indicate that the young guard is still a threat to fill box scores in a variety of ways—provided that he is able to stay in the action and out of foul trouble.