It’s been almost a week since Gary Payton II made his season debut for the Golden State Warriors. He played 18 minutes and scored 7 points in the Warriors’ 130-115 win over the San Antonio Spurs Friday.
After the victory, he discussed how he views his role with the team, saying he just tries to do the little things that lead to wins.
“I think the role players are starting to understand it’s getting down to the season, so it’s definitely less is more,” Payton said Friday via NBC Sports Bay Area. “Just do the little things, the right things, and like I said, let the heavy-load guys do what they do. But we’ve just got to put them in the right position to be great.”
Since coming back after battling an abdominal injury, Payton has given the Dubs about 14 minutes off the bench each night, averaging 5.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
The Warriors traded for the veteran guard ahead of this season’s trade deadline, after he left the team for the Portland Trailblazers over the summer. Payton II appeared in just 15 games for the Blazers, scoring 4.1 points per game, while playing about 17 minutes.
Stephen Curry Excited to Have Gary Payton II With Warriors
Payton II’s superstar teammate, Stephen Curry, is excited to have him back in town. After the team’s comfortable win over the Spurs, Curry discussed the importance of having the 30-year-old’s energy off of the bench.
“Like we talked about when the trade happened and the build-up to him coming back, he just knows how to play,” Curry said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “[He] knows how to make winning plays. [He] finds himself in the right place on both ends. Some of the stuff that doesn’t show up in the stat sheet. His ball pressure. Just his overall presence. So, he had a big three in the corner and got a big steal as soon as he came in. Got us a couple of extra possessions [with] offensive rebounds. So, it’s just the little things that you can trust that he’s going to make those plays, and he also gets the crowd involved.”
Warriors Trio Makes History in Win vs. Spurs
Golden State’s group of sharpshooters, Curry, Klay Thompson, and Jordan Poole, became just the second trio of teammates to each make over 200 3-pointers in a single season, with Poole knocking down his 200th Friday.
After making history, Poole spoke to the media and discussed what it meant to accomplish a historic feat.
“Yeah it’s pretty special. Especially being the second team in history to do it, he said via NBC Sports Bay Area. “Up there with really good company, and we still have a couple of games to go. So shoutout to those guys, for just raising the level of competition, not only in the game but in practice, and just being around these guys for the four years that I’ve been, I’ve learned a lot and it’s been really special to be a part of.”
Thompson later praised Poole for the work he’s put in to improve as a player.
“Credit to Jordan he works his tail off everyday, same with Steph. It’s really cool that we have two other guys who shoot it so well, it makes my job so much easier,” Thompson said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “Thinking back to his rookie year, to the player that he is now. He’s a champion. He’s got All-Star games in his future. He’s our future for the Warriors, obviously. We got so lucky to get a guy like him at the 28th pick, that just doesn’t happen so often. He’s so much fun to play with. He’s a great scoring point guard as well as a facilitator and he has so much greatness ahead of him.”