The Wizards are planning to sign Gary Payton II to a 10-day contract on Monday, according to Marc Spears of The Undefeated. The move gets Washington back up to the 14 player roster minimum after the team waived Ron Baker two weeks ago.
Like Baker, Payton’s biggest contributions will be on the defensive end. Payton was a two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year at Oregon State and received accolades for his defense in stints with the Bucks and Lakers over the past two seasons. He joined the Rockets’ G-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, in early December and averaged 19.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 6.5 assists, and 3.3 steals per game in 13 contests with the team before this call up.
Payon’s struggles have come on the other end. Although he scored a lot in Rio Valley, he struggled to score efficiently throughout his pro career. He shot under 40 percent in 29 NBA games and only made 7 of his 34 attempts from deep. Even in the G-League he has struggled to find his shot. He shot 45 percent from the floor and 27.9 percent from deep on over 4 attempts per game.
If Washington can keep his shooting in check, Payton could prove useful. Washington has the sixth-worst defense in the league this season and allows opponents to shoot the third-best percentage on threes. However, if he earns minutes, that could be bad news for rookie Troy Brown Jr. who has bounced in and out of the rotation this season and is coming off one of his better performances of the season.
Once Payton’s 10-day contract is up, they can sign him to one more 10-day contract. At that point, they’ll have to sign him to a fully guaranteed contract for the rest of the season or let him walk.