Pro Hoops History HOF: Gary Payton

Gary Payton (Slam)
Gary Payton (Slam)

There’s four major points to know about Gary Payton’s NBA career. So, let’s take them one by one…

First, he was terrifying defender. At 6’4″, he had the size to defend either guard position. Nicknamed “The Glove”, Payton was a stellar on-ball defender and would pick your pocket in the process. He didn’t get those Allen Iverson type steals gambling on passing lanes. He’d straight up mug you for the ball. Nine straight times he was a member of the NBA’s All-Defensive 1st Team and each one was well-deserved.

It’s no accident Michael Jordan easily had his worst NBA Finals series  in 1996 as he was hounded by Payton.

Second, he had a telepathic connection with Shawn Kemp. Payton’s natural passing ability and Kemp’s natural leaping ability created one of the great one-two punches in NBA history. Time and again they connected on absolutely insane alley oops.

Third, he was a talented scorer. This portion of Payton’s skills didn’t truly become revealed until the late 90s and early 2000s. For the first part of his career, Payton played on a stacked Sonics team with the likes of Kemp, Ricky Pierce, Sam Perkins, Detlef Schrempf, Hersey Hawkins, and Kendall Gill. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. However, as time went on, the Sonics slowly deteriorated in overall talent and Payton resorted to more and more of his quick off-the-dribble explosions and even more annoying for defenders his sturdy post-up moves. Remember that being 6’4″ made him taller than most point guards and caused matchup havoc.

Fourth, he did vagabond for a ring. The Sonics traded Payton to the Milwaukee Bucks midway through the 2003 season. In 2004 he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in a blatant, and ultimately failed, attempt at riding coattails to a ring. In 2005 he arrived in Boston and again didn’t succeed. In 2006 he landed in Miami and finally tasted title glory. He certainly gave forth a good effort, but by that point he was nowhere near the offensive force, let alone the frightening defensive force, he once was.

So maybe he didn’t “earn” that ring that particular season, but the Glove had undoubtedly put in the dues in over a decade of All-Star and All-Defensive effort. And that’s all there is to know about Gary Payton.

Well, there’s actually five things.

Fifth, even Oscar the Grouch would be offended by the amount of trash Gary Payton talked. Watch out for the Glove’s defense and the f-bombs.

Gary Payton buck you fuddy

Years Played: 1990 – 2007

Seattle SuperSonics
Seattle SuperSonics


Champion (2006)
Defensive Player of the Year (1996)
2x All-NBA 1st Team (1998, 2000)
5x All-NBA 2nd Team (1995-’97, 1999, 2002)
2x All-NBA 3rd Team (1994, 2001)
9x All-Defensive 1st Team (1994 – 2002)
9x All-Star (1994-’98, 2000-’03)
All-Rookie 2nd Team (1991)


NBA Career: 1990-91 through 2006-07
Peak Career Production:
1993-94 through 2002-03

Average and Advanced Stats

Stat Career Playoff Peak Peak Rank
Games 1335 154 782 2nd
PPG 16.3 14 20.8 13th
RPG 3.9 3.7 4.5 140th
APG 6.7 5.3 7.9 7th
SPG 1.83 1.40 2.12 3rd
BPG 0.21 0.21 0.24 217th
TS% 0.528 0.506 0.534 132nd
2PT% 0.501 0.478 0.506 55th
3PT% 0.317 0.315 0.325 162nd
FT% 0.729 0.706 0.727 218th
PER 18.9 15.4 21.5 19th
WS/48 0.148 0.098 0.175 16th
Ortg 111 107 113
Drtg 106 108 105

Aggregate Stats

Stat Career Playoff Peak Peak Rank
Games 1335 154 782 2nd
Minutes 47117 5481 30602 1st
Points 21813 2155 16295 3rd
Rebounds 5269 575 3507 53rd
Assists 8966 811 6157 3rd
Steals 2445 216 1658 1st
Blocks 285 32 184 148th
2PTs 7576 718 5521 3rd
3PTs 1132 137 926 18th
FTs 3265 308 2475 16th
WS 145.5 11.1 111.6 4th

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