4. Gary Payton II
GPII was a key part of the Warriors’ championship run in 2022, and the Dubs reacquired him in February after the 6’3 guard departed for Portland in free agency. He is a strong defender with an inconsistent jump shot, but health and opportunity have always been his biggest issues.
The 30-year-old played 71 regular season games during the Dubs championship campaign in 2022. His second-highest season total is 29. GPII struggled to find an NBA home early in his career but has been unable to stay healthy in recent years. Can the Warriors count on him throughout the long regular season and into the playoffs?
Payton II is averaging 6.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.3 steals in a career-high 18.3 minutes per game to begin the 2023-24 season. He has missed just one game so far this year. There are serious questions about his ability to hold up, which could put him on the trade block before the deadline.
Gary Payton II is under contract for $8.7 million this season with a $9.1 million player option for the 2024-25 campaign. The Golden State Warriors may look to dump his contract for tax savings if they cannot find an upgrade. It is an important year for GPII. He must step up or the Dubs could ship him to a new team in February.