Should the Miami Heat take a look at Gary Payton II?

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) dribbles the ball past Washington Wizards guard Gary Payton II (20) (Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) dribbles the ball past Washington Wizards guard Gary Payton II (20) (Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Miami Heat need to get creative with free agency. Gary Payton II is a potentially valuable, yet cost-efficient, player to look at.

If I am the Miami Heat’s General Manager and looking for a Bargain bin free agent, then I’m looking at Gary Payton II. This goes especially when it comes to a team like the Miami Heat, who struggle with defending smaller guards and specifically at the point of attack on defense.

Payton would be a perfect fit with Miami. He might be a top 5 on-ball defender in the league.

Yes, I know, that is quite the statement to make but I think it’s true. Payton has really quick hands and plays bigger than he is being at 6’3″.

You would think he can only guard point guards or shooting guards but with Payton that is not the case. For example, on December 23 against the New York Knicks, Payton’s stat line was 10 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 6 steals.

Now I know that was against New York but if you watched the tape then you would notice how, at times, Payton would guard Julius Randle. Randle is a big boy too, standing at 6’8” and weighing 249lbs.

The Miami Heat need more defensive stoppers. Could Gary Payton II be one of those guys for Miami this year?

Payton really made it tough on Randle though, stealing the ball from him a couple of times along the way. On paper, you are thinking “how in the hell did he do a good job on Randle?”

Payton has a 6’8” wingspan and quick hand-eye coordination. Also, playing bigger than your size is something that Payton is really good at, presumably because of his length and heart.

Mainly, Payton is known as a defensive player but he has other skills as well. Payton is a pretty good passer.

He’s also a good rebounder and at his size, it’s huge to have a guy helping on the glass from the guard position. Payton is not a scorer though.

He can finish on the break but in the half-court, he struggles. He has an okay handle but he won’t be running your offense.

If Miami were to sign Payton, he would not have to worry about scoring or handling the ball, as it would be strictly defense for 12-15 minutes a game guarding the opposing teams best player, hopefully making life hard for them.

I get that it’s not a flashy name or anything that Miami fans will get excited about but I for one am getting annoyed at the point guard from Atlanta, in just one example, giving the Miami Heat buckets. Payton could be the perfect guy to stay in front of him.

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Also and as Heat Twitter likes to call them, how many Miami fans are annoyed with random “Heat killers” getting their stuff off on us throughout the regular season? Payton is a tough-nosed defender who would be a nice plug and play guy for Miami. I would love for Miami to give him a look.