Per Steve Kerr, Gary Payton II will be available tonight vs. the New Orleans Pelicans. Payton was listed as questionable due to left Achilles soreness.
Gary Payton II is expected to be available against the Pelicans tonight, per Kerr. Achilles soreness after his return the other night had him as questionable on injury report.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 29, 2023
Payton made his return on the court for the Golden State Warriors last game against the Minnesota Timberwolves and looked like he didn’t miss a beat. In addition to seeing reps on Anthony Edwards (and doing a pretty good job, per usual), Payton was a menace off the ball:
GP2 FROM OUTTA NOWHERE— Joe Viray (@JoeVirayNBA) March 27, 2023
(Forget what happened after lol) pic.twitter.com/IrnNEiQtLo
While also providing a glimpse of what he could be with Donte DiVincenzo as his defensive partner:
First glimpse of the GP2-Donte defensive pairing. pic.twitter.com/SDYzVPotyh— Joe Viray (@JoeVirayNBA) March 27, 2023
Offensively, Payton was his usual screen-setting small “big” man, while also thriving as a dunker-spot release valve:
This is what I've been looking from Klay all night long with his shot not falling. He drives, touches the paint, and finds GP2 cutting baseline. pic.twitter.com/eKto8FzBIk— Joe Viray (@JoeVirayNBA) March 27, 2023
Payton showed everyone why he belonged — as if he never left:
Gary Payton II showed off all the tools in his return to the Dubs last night: screening and short-roll playmaking, transition leakouts, deep shooting, and his customary eye-popping defense pic.twitter.com/Sz1VCj3z23— Charlie Cummings (@klaytheist11) March 27, 2023
Payton’s presence will be crucial. The Warriors haven’t been exactly sharp on defense since the All-Star Break — not that they’ve been terrible, but they haven’t been championship level, either.
Warriors since the All-Star Break (10-8):— Joe Viray (@JoeVirayNBA) March 28, 2023
• 16th on offense (116.1 ORTG)
• 19th in half-court offense (99.4 ORTG)
• 27th in transition offense (117.0 ORTG)
• 10th on defense (114.4 DRTG)
• 11th in half-court defense (98.8 DRTG)
• 8th in transition defense (122.0 DRTG)
They’ll need all hands on deck.