On draft night, fans knew him as the kid who really needed a serious haircut. But in reality, Payton had plenty of play to go along with his head full of hair. His game is comparable to Gary Payton, the former Seattle Supersonic great who made a name in the NBA by robbing his opponents of the ball and slashing his way through defenders to get to the basket.
Orlando’s Payton can have the same type of career. In a lot of respects, Elfrid’s game is just as similar to Gary’s. Elfrid was a deadly slasher in college and was equally deadly on the defensive end. The one knock on Payton’s game is his lack of an outside game that can keep the defense honest. But like another great point guard, Rajon Rondo, he has plenty of time to develop an outside game.
What the Magic need from him now — barring that the team does not sign a veteran point guard in free agency — is for Payton to play the same type of game he played in college — slash and kick with tenacious defense. If he can accomplish those things, and develop an outside shot, then Payton could be well on his way to being the next great point guard for the Magic.
The future is bright for the kid who needs a serious haircut.