Gary Payton II dribbles against the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 5, 2017.
(Gary Dineen/Getty Images)

Latest Laker: Gary Payton II

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

The Lakers added some point guard depth to their roster on Monday, inking 6-foot-3 southpaw Gary Payton II to a two-way contract.

Under the rules of the contract, Payton will be eligible to play both for the NBA Lakers and the G League’s South Bay Lakers.

The son of Hall of Famer and one-time Laker Gary Payton, the 25-year-old has played 18 NBA games in his career — all for Milwaukee.

He has spent the majority of his two seasons as a pro in the G League, averaging 14.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.0 steals last year for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

While with RGV, he ranked seventh in the league in steals and fourth in two-point percentage (64.4).

That latter figure resulted from a mix of fast-break opportunities (having also led the 2017 Summer League in steals) and an overall penchant for attacking the rim.

In the G League, Payton has shot a whopping 71.3 percent in the restricted area thanks to his frequent dunks (76-of-77) and finishing ability on layups (63.4 percent).

However, he has been much less successful away from the basket, shooting just 30.6 percent on 3-pointers in the G League and 3-of-21 in the NBA.

He hasn’t found his touch from mid-range either, hitting 3-of-16 in the G League.

However, his driving capabilities have made him an explosive scorer at least at the G League level, having dropped 51 points in a single game against the South Bay Lakers last year.

And “The Thief” can certainly hold his own on the other end on the floor. Payton certainly inherited his father’s ability to steal, as the Oregon State product was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the year in both 2015 and 2016.

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