He’s a good back up to the back up point guard, but his shooting was bad. Like, really bad.
Welcome to our Phoenix Suns Season in Review series where we do individual PLAYER REVIEWS of each man that contributed in the 2021-22 season. We go through the roster to analyze what went right/wrong for them, and what they can do to get better for next season.
Check out all players covered so far here: 2022 Phoenix Suns Player Reviews, as we approach the final few reviews.
- Position: Point guard
- Vitals: 6’3” tall, 195 pounds, 28 years old
- Experience: 8th NBA season
- Stats: 50 games played (1 start), 11.0 minutes played, 3.0 points per game, 38.3 FG%, 22.2 3PT%, 37.5 FT%, 2.0 assists, 1.8 rebounds.
Take a look at how we viewed Elfrid Payton this past season:
Regular Season Recap
There isn’t much to say about the return of Elfrid Payton to the Suns.
Payton played the prior year with the New York Knicks and, although he started in all of his 63 appearances in the 2020-21 season for the team and helped them win their most games in 8 seasons, the team and fanbase did not want him back.
He joined the Suns to fill the back up to the back up point guard position. James Jones believes in the 3-by-5 philosophy – being three deep at all five positions – and Payton was a solid player to fill this role.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen some of the responses on Twitter to a player who is a third-stringer like I have when Elfrid Payton comes into the game.
How is Elfrid Payton in the NBA? It hurts to watch him play basketball.
— JS (@jstew9) April 11, 2022
When you are a guard and can’t shoot the three-ball, or even free throws for that matter, it is easy to understand the frustration. No guard in the NBA that played 50+ games had a lower effective field goal percentage than Elfrid Payton.
His best game of the season would have to be his performance on February 12 against his former team, the Orlando Magic. In 22 minutes he posted a 10 point, 9 assist, 6 rebound statline. And he made both of his three-point attempts.
Remember all of the 8 minutes that Payton played during the playoffs? 2:24 came in Game 4 of the First Round against the New Orleans Pelicans and the other 5:17 was in the season finale ass-kicking at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks.
Payton is a quality distributor and the majority of it effectively comes from the interior to the perimeter. He drives to the lane, draws defenses to him, and finds his teammates for open shots. Elf has the experience to navigate NBA defenses to find the best possible spot to find open shooters. If the passing lane is filled, expect a Stephon Marbury-esque floater.
His size and defensive physicality was a welcomed upgrade from the E’Twaun Moore minutes the prior season, but…
…his inability to be an effective shot maker made Payton practically useless on offense. You can play 6 feet off of him at all times because you know he can’t stick a three, and if you put him on the line, he had the worst free-throw percentage of any player to attempt at least 32 attempts.
That alone is worth playing anywhere but the NBA.
You have to have the ability to shoot. Payton does not.
What to work on
Spend some time taking some three-pointers. But, at 28 years old, if he hasn’t learned to shoot now, I doubt he ever will.
This is nothing new for Elf. Here is some quality footage from 2014:
Elfrid, who earned $2.2M on a one year deal with Phoenix last season, is now an unrestricted free agent.
Time to grade out Elf’s 2021-22 season.
- Overall grade as an NBA player: D
- Relative grade to preseason expectations: D+
In an effort to bring awareness to his foundation, McGee is hosting the Water for Life Charity Softball Game on June 22 at Chase Field. The event will have some of our favorite Phoenix Suns players competing like Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Mikal Bridges, James Jones, and Cam Payne.
If you are interested in attending, click here.