Is Elfrid Payton The Next Best Point Guard In The NBA?


Brian Schmitz
On Sunday, Orlando Magic’s rookie point guard Elfrid Payton nearly recorded his third straight triple-double as he had 6 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.

On Friday, it was his 22 point, 10 assist, and 10 rebound performance that prompted him being compared to the likes of Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, David Robinson, and Jason Kidd.

It was Payton’s second straight triple-double making him the first Magic player ever and only the seventh rookie in NBA history to have triple-doubles in consecutive games. The last NBA rookie that had consecutive triple-doubles was Antoine Walker back in 1997.

Payton is starting to become one of the league’s rising stars with his recent stellar performances while being in discussion for being Rookie Of The Year.

On the season, Payton is averaging 8.6 points, 6.2 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game. Yet, those numbers do not show his exceptional play during the last  few weeks.

Payton’s been having a late-season resurgence after he struggled mightily in the month of February. During the month of March, Payton has averaged 12.7 points per game, 8.1 assists, 5.8 rebounds, and 2 steals while shooting 46 percent.

Before scoring only six points on Sunday, Payton registered double-digits in the past nine games. In the past ten games, he’s scored more than 14 points six times and he has double-digit assists five times. Since January, Payton has a shooting percentage of 46 percent.

Payton is evolving as a confident point guard for the Magic. He isn’t afraid of being relied as the facilitator on offense while becoming a great finisher.

He has a fantastic cross-over with a quick first-step. Despite of his size, he is an excellent rebounder for his position. Even as a rookie, Payton is a great defender with quick hands. His play-making abilities have been the sole reason the Magic have inserted him back in the starting lineup.

Overall. Payton is a leader the Magic expected he would be when they drafted him.

The expectations are rising for Payton after his recent stretch of success. He is first among rookies and 15th overall with 6.1 assists, which is better than Deron Williams, Mike Conley, and Kyrie Irving.

With statistics such as these, how can you not believe he can eventually become one of the elite guards in the NBA in the near future?