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Elfrid Payton: Summer League Review & Highlights

2014 July 23
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Orlando Magic fans will be happy to know they have a potentially great true point guard on their hands in Elfrid Payton. At just slightly under 6′ 4″, Elfrid has his head on a swivel at all times and at both ends of the court. He’s not going to be a defensive liability, he’ll thrive in transition situations, and Elfrid can finish with authority at the rim. In 25.8 minutes per contest, the Louisiana-Lafayette product averaged 9.2 ppg, a Summer League best 7.0 apg, 5.2 rpg, and 1.4 spg on 59.3 FG%, 50.0 3PT% (1-of-2 on 3s), and 65.0 FT%. Elfrid had an outstanding week despite a very jittery first game. Payton averaged 4 turnovers per contest, which is fairly typical for a rookie guard. The 20-year-old proved why it was worth Rob Hennigan trading up to grab him.

Let’s take a look at Elfrid’s 2014 Summer League.

ElfridJam

July 5th – 83-77 win over the Philadelphia 76ers

2 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds on 1-of-4 shooting in 18 minutes.

Again, it’s definitely the more forgettable of Elfrid’s showings. It didn’t help that Philly had tenacious defenders like Nerlens Noel, Casper Ware, and Aaron Craft. It was trial by fire and Elfrid just wasn’t comfortable. It happens. Pierre Jackson was offensively getting the better of Payton before he suffered a gruesome injury. Elfrid debuted off the bench as point guard backup to Victor Oladipo though the two would play together in the backcourt throughout the week. At the 1:21 mark here, Elfrid’s only bucket did come on a nice drive past Casper Ware and Ed Daniel. Elfrid’s assists were definitely the best part about his game against the Sixers. Cross court finds, bounce passes, hesitation dump offs. Brighter days were ahead.

 

Below you’ll find more of Elfrid Payton’s Summer League week.

 

July 7th – 87-69 win over the Houston Rockets

12 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds, and 1 steal on 5-of-5 shooting in 29 minutes.

Once the nerves stopped playing a factor, Elfrid proved to be extremely aware of everything going on around him. At the start of the clip, Elfrid blows right past 42nd overall pick Nick Johnson and earns a charity stripe trip. Then he drives right past Johnson again, sucks in the Rockets help, and fires a pass to a left side baseline cutting Dewayne Dedmon for the and-1 dunk. At the 26-second mark, Elfrid off the inbounds attacks and finishes left past Johnson and leaves Maarty Leunen reacting in slow motion. Next, Elfrid serves up a nasty crossover of Jahii Carson before feeding Dedmon for an alley oop slam. You know you’re doing something right when Isiah Thomas is drooling over your game.

At the 1-minute mark, Elfrid just flat out bursts right past Chris Kramer for a 2-hand dunk that I didn’t think he could pull off. I can get used to a lot of dunks from the rookie. Elfrid then finds Kim English on an open look. Payton ends the 1st half with two offensive rebounds and 2 lay-ups in about 8 seconds. Elfrid will be a great rebounder at his position. Payton opens up the 4th quarter with a pocket bounce pass to Dedmon for another basket. At the 2-minute mark, Elfrid shows off his 6′ 8″ wingspan with a steal and then a cruising 2-hand jam on the other end. Elfrid then grabs a rebound, takes a few dribbles up the court and quickly notices Macklin is wide open for a transition dunk. Elfrid finishes the clip by displaying his stoic nature during a loose ball as he rewards Romero Osby after causing the steal. Here’s his postgame interview.

 

July 8th – 73-80 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies

6 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block on 2-of-2 shooting in 19 minutes.

In a contest that saw the entire Magic squad struggle against Memphis’ physical defense, Elfrid didn’t fair too badly. Elfrid once again came off the bench. In the highlight clip, immediately we notice Elfrid utilizing a solid Vernon Macklin screen on Scottie Wilbekin, drawing in Jack Cooley, and swiftly finding Cameron Jones for the open trey. Stuff like that appears simple, but you’d be surprised how slow and late many point guards are in those situations. At the 25-second mark, Elfrid forced Wilbekin to go to his left (which he did) and Scottie was quicker than the help defense and the former Gator got a late first quarter bucket to drop.

The great news was Elfrid remained composed, took the ball up the court and used all 4.4 seconds to drive past Wilbekin and then drain a solid buzzer beating basket over Jarnell Stokes. Payton proved that he does have the potential to be a good shooter. At the 45-second mark, Elfrid grabs a loose ball and goes coast-to-cast for a surprisingly explosive jam past Wilbekin, Jordan Adams, and a trailing Terrico White. Payton had dribble hesitated so much that it’s amazing that Elfrid could still elevate that much.

Next, Payton displays his help defense by helping on Gordon’s man and swatting Jarrid Famous. Elfrid assisted in shutting down the 22nd overall pick Jordan Adams. At the 1:30 mark, we do see Elfrid get a bit lackadaisical on a pass that led to a Wilbekin steal and a Memphis bucket. Finally, we see Elfrid pay too much attention to the ball and not notice Wilbekin sneaking behind him for a transition basket. Practice and coaching fixes those errors, but he has the necessary positive attitude.

 

July 10th – 67-76 loss to the Boston Celtics

8 points, 10 assists, 9 rebounds, and 1 block on 3-of-7 shooting in 31 minutes.

This was Elfrid’s first start as Oladipo sat out. It does need to be pointed out that Elfrid did cough up 7 turnovers, his most at Summer League. Marcus Smart definitely got the best of Payton in the 4th quarter as Smart made some tough 3-pointers, but that’s what Summer League is for. Elfrid will remember this contest for future encounters. Elfrid looked great those first 3 periods though. Out of the gate, Elfrid finds fellow rookie Aaron Gordon for the alley oop lay-up. Payton did a lot of wheeling and dealing. At the 41-second mark, Elfrid swats a Phil Pressey jumper. Payton continued to abuse Pressey as Elfrid had great pick-and-roll chemistry with Kadeem Batts.

At the 1:07 mark, Elfrid drives left past Pressey before drilling a running floater over Colton Iverson. Immediately, Elfrid grabs a defensive rebound and goes coast-to-coast and finishes a tough lay-up past Pressey. Another high motor guy who loves running. Smart did do a better job guarding Elfrid than Pressey did, but no one could stop Payton from dishing. At the 2:12 mark, Elfrid drives right past Chris Babb before dropping in a crisp right baseline floater. Elfrid ends the clip earning a free throw line trip as he slipped past Smart on the drive to the rack. Here’s Payton’s postgame interview.

 

July 11th – 96-87 win over the Detroit Pistons

18 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, and 1 block on 5-of-9 FGs (1-for-2 on 3s) and 7-of-8 FTs in 32 minutes.

Just like with Aaron Gordon and Victor Oladipo, Elfrid saved his best game for last. His 2 turnovers were the fewest he allowed at Summer League. Payton’s eight free throw attempts were by far the most he tried during the week. Because the Magic only had 8 active players, Payton found himself starting next to Oladipo but also playing post-up defense at times against guys like Brian Cook. Elfrid begins the highlight clip with a help block on Tony Mitchell. Next, Elfrid drains a pull-up jumper over DeAndre Liggins who was playing a lot of PG. Elfrid then drives past Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, draws in Justin Harper and slides in a smooth bounce pass to the baseline cutting Devyn Marble. We again see Elfrid being too quick for KCP and drawing a shooting foul.

At the 47-second mark, Elfrid caused former UCF Knight Tristan Spurlock problems as he drew in Jordan Heath for the help defense and that led to the alley oop dunk for Aaron Gordon. Next, Elfrid steals a lazy bounce pass from Harper and causes Justin to commit a shooting foul on the other end. Payton then took the open space Liggins gave him and stepped into a very confident 20-foot jumper. At 1:21, watch Elfrid drive and dish to Josh Magette for the 3-point attempt. Josh missed, but because Payton stayed active for a rebound, he gets the ball and shows an impressive post-up move against Spurlock. Next, Elfrid makes his only 3-pointer of Summer League. The give-and-go bounce pass feed at 1:47 to Marble is beautiful. Court awareness. At 2:05, Elfrid gets Oladipo a long jumper off a curl.

Payton takes advantage of the space KCP gives him which leads to a tip-in and-1 alley oop finish by Gordon. Elfrid follows that up with a nifty left-hand finish over David Lighty in transition. At 2:35, Elfrid strips KCP, keeps his balance as Harper probably got away with a foulwhile going down the left side of the court, and lobs a pretty alley oop to Oladipo for the dagger 2-hand jam. Elfrid concludes the clip with a free throw line trip after beating Cook to his right, and then feeds Oladipo with one last and-1. Here’s Elfrid reflecting on his week.

 

Will Elfrid Payton be starting for the Magic come October, sliding Victor Oladipo to shooting guard? I think he would do fine, but it should be expected that Coach Jacque Vaughn will end up bringing him along slowly. I can see Elfrid starting by the All-Star Break for sure though, especially if he can improve at the same pace done during Summer League. Payton needs to continue improving his free throw and jump shooting this offseason, otherwise defenses will give him the Rajon Rondo treatment and beg him to settle rather than drive to the rim. I honestly believe that Elfrid can have a very long future in Orlando, long enough to knock off Scott Skiles and Jameer Nelson for the franchise assists record. His future is extremely promising and he’s already a floor general.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

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