Elfrid Payton Shows Promise in First Two Starts as a Sun

by Cody Cunningham

In just two games with the Suns, Elfrid Payton has already shown fans why the Suns made the move for him at the deadline. It’s not common that a 23-year-old lottery pick becomes available, but the Suns jumped at the opportunity.

Payton worked out for the Suns twice during pre-draft workouts in 2014 before being selected 10th overall by the Orlando Magic.

“We had a lot of interest in Elfrid,” GM Ryan McDonough said. “Elfrid ended up going a few picks ahead of our first pick that year.”

The Suns instead selected T.J. Warren at pick 14, who is coincidentally good friends with Payton.

“I’ve known him really well since college so it’s a great addition for us,” Warren said. “I’m excited for him." 

He neared a double-double in his first outing for the Suns as he scored 19 points to go along with his nine assists and six rebounds. 

“He knows how to set guys up,” Warren said. “I feel like he can come in and play-make for a lot of guys on our team and make life easy for a lot of guys.”

Payton continued to impress as the Suns faced the Golden State Warriors on Monday night. He scored 16 points in the first quarter while going seven-for-seven from the field. He finished the game just shy of a career-high with 29 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Devin Booker is still recovering from his injury, but said he’s excited to eventually share the court with his new point guard.

“He brings that defensive mindset, a playmaker and he can score too,” Booker said. “I’m excited about having him.”

Payton is averaging 24 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while shooting 61.3 percent from the field while wearing a Suns uniform. Although it has only been two games, Payton seems to be adjusting well to the change of scenery.