Gary Payton

Gary Payton takes his era of point guards over today’s, calls him and Shawn Kemp ‘the original Lob City’


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Gary Payton is one of a dozen people being enshrined as part of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend in Springfield, Mass. Leading up to this weekend, the Glove has made several noteworthy comments, which continued during Saturday’s press conference.

Earlier this week, Payton said that John Stockton was harder to guard than Michael Jordan, though, it wasn’t as outlandish of a statement when you hear Payton’s full explanation. However, on Saturday afternoon, Payton wasn’t asked about specific players, rather eras, and when it came down to points in the ‘90s as opposed to today’s lead guards, it wasn’t shocking who the new Hall of Famer chose.

“I like my era better,” Payton told reporters.

“Every time I went against a point guard, we just played tough,” Payton continued. “You had the Tim Hardaways, the Kevin Johnsons; a lot of them guys. I always thought about. I always liked my era because we can hand check, we can do a lot of stuff; we can control our teams. We didn’t have to score 25-26. We could get 17, 10 dimes and three or four steals.”

Payton cited the younger generation, the NBA lockout in 1999, rule changes and even the rise of the And 1 Mixtape Tour as contributing factors to how the point guard position and style of play has changed from his own era.

“It’s the way our kids are brought up,” Payton said. “You guys have to understand, basketball has changed.

“They had to build it up after the first strike. Basketball was down a little bit. David Stern did a great job of bringing basketball back because he knew kids wanted to see run-and-gun. They didn’t want to see defense like the Knicks were doing. Slowing the ball down, setting up defenses and stuff like that and running plays. Kids weren’t doing that in the playgrounds. So we sped the game up, and that’s what the kids liked. They liked to see dunking, they like to see running, they liked to see scoring and that’s just the way it went.”

The discussion of a fast-paced, dunk-filled style of play transitioned Payton into mentioning his playing days with Shawn Kemp in Seattle. Their alley-oops connection lives on in YouTube glory, which gave him the opportunity to remind the basketball world that there was an alley-oop combo before Chris Paul and Blake Griffin joined forces in Los Angeles.

“When people say Lob City or stuff like that, we were the original Lob City,” Payton said. “We don’t want to call it Lob City, we just called it Reign Man and the Glove.”

Although the game is different from Payton’s days in Seattle, that hasn’t stopped him from trying to revive his era in the new breed of floor generals, as he has been reportedly working out this summer with point guards such as John Wall and Damian Lillard.

The style of play Payton loved so much may be gone, but his accomplishments will forever hang with the rest of basketball’s greats following this weekend. The Glove completes his Hall of Fame enshrinement when he is presented as a new member by John Stockton and George Gervin at Springfield’s Symphony Hall on Sunday afternoon.

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Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.

Paul George reiterates “I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot”

Paul George

In the Pacers first exhibition game of the season Saturday against the Pelicans, Paul George started at the power forward spot and looked healthy — that should be the big takeaway. He also showed off his offensive game in the first quarter, eventually finishing the night with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He forced some shots in the second half and had some defensive challenges, but it was a solid outing for a first preseason game.

George did not see it that way, and that will end up being the big takeaway.

He complained about playing power forward during training camp and given the chance after this one game he did it again, as reported by Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

“I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot,” George said after the Pacers’ 110-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, a game in which he started matched up against 6-foot-11 All-Star Anthony Davis.

“I don’t know if this is my position. We’ll sit and watch tape and I’m sure I’ll talk with coach (Frank Vogel). I’ll talk with Larry (Bird) as well to get both their inputs on how the first game went but…I’m still not comfortable with it regardless of the situation. It’s still something I have to adjust to or maybe not. Or maybe it’s something we can go away from.”

George sees himself as a wing, where he has played his entire career. He doesn’t like defending traditional fours, as a scorer he doesn’t like expending all that energy defending pick-and-rolls and banging with bigger bodies. He’s been clear about that.

He still needs to be open to the idea. How much time George gets at the four on any given night should depend on the matchup — and Anthony Davis is about as rough a matchup as he is going to see. Davis scored 18 points in 15 minutes, and the Pelicans controlled the paint against the small-ball Pacers. George had a hard time defending Davis — welcome to a rather large club, PG. That said, George scored 12 points in the first quarter mostly with Davis on him, he pulled the big out in space and got what he wanted.

Back to the matchups point, George will struggle defensively against the best fours in the game (most of whom are in the West). But what about the nights in the East when George would be matched up on Thaddeus Young from Brooklyn, Jared Sullinger (or David Lee, or whoever) from Boston, or Aaron Gordon with the Magic, or Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks when they play small? There are a lot of lineups the Pacers will see where George at the four makes sense.

The Pacers are transitioning from a plodding and defensive-minded squad to a more up-tempo style, and that’s going to take time— a lot more than one preseason game. However, if George is throwing cold water on the plan after this one effort, it might take a lot longer and be a lot bumpier to make that transition than we pictured.