Suns' Cameron Payne has earned his spot back in the NBA during bubble

Aug 2, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne (15) reacts after hitting a three point shot against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Mandatory Credit: Ashley Landis/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Suns' Cameron Payne has earned his spot back in the NBA during bubble


Suns' Cameron Payne has earned his spot back in the NBA during bubble

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The Phoenix Suns have been the most impressive team during the NBA restart, getting massive contributions from new signee Cameron Payne.

The former lottery pick had not played in the league since January 2019. But the Suns are undefeated in their seven games he has played. Phoenix has also outscored opponents by 21.6 points per 100 possessions when he has been on the floor. His plus-minus (69) ranks in the top three among all NBA players since the restart began on July 30.

Payne is currently averaging 10.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists over 22.5 minutes per game. He is averaging 1.8 connections from 3-point range, shooting 11-for-22 (50.0%) from 3-point range.

The most important part of his game has been his ability to create his own shot, which is a proven commodity that makes him a fit for any team in the NBA.

He has connected on 28 field goals for Phoenix thus far and just 11 have been assisted. Payne has also made 10 buckets within five feet of the rim and of these looks, just one has come after a dime from his teammates. This trails only Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillardย for the most prolific rate in the NBA.

His ability to score without the help of a teammate currently ranks in the 80th percentile among all combo guards, per Cleaning the Glass. This has been the most impactful way his presence has been felt for Phoenix.

While a small sample size, Payne has not yet required an assist on any of the mid-range attempts he has connected on so far this season. He has been able to create his own space, gliding around the floor.

Payne has also been able to make defenders dance and look foolish on the court. His footwork has been phenomenal, carefully finding moments to step beyond the arc while opponents are still in front of the line.

Overall, via Synergy, he is 5-for-9 (55.6 percent) when he has shot off the bounce since he signed with Phoenix. He is also currently 4-for-7 (57.1 percent) when he has taken pull-up jumpers for the Suns.

He is currently averaging 1.21 points per possession when dribbling off the pick in PnR sets, according to Synergy, which ranks 94th percentile. Payne has connected on all five of his dribble jumpers out of the high pick-and-roll, not yet missing.

He is 5-for-8 (62.5 percent) when shooting after seven or more dribbles, according to The confidence he has to even take this look after the dribbling that he completed below shows exactly what kind of player he is on the court.

Payne is owed $196,288 for his services in the bubble, a prorated minimum deal for his late addition.

The team has a built-in $2 million option to pick up his contract for the 2020-21 season. But according to ESPN’sย Bobby Marks, that figure is guaranteed at $25K.

Rather than play on what is essentially a non-guaranteed deal, it seems more likely that Payne tests the open market and finds a new home whether it is in the NBA or otherwise. But teams looking for a hungry scorer are going to be able to find one in Payne.

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