Not every NBA player has the temperament or desire to become an NBA coach. In multiple GM surveys over the years, they have voted Chris Paul as the active player who would make the best coach — his hoops IQ is elite — but his response is always (to paraphrase his words), “Are you kidding me? Why would I subject myself to that?”
Hall of Fame guard Gary Payton didn’t think he was ready to be an NBA coach, but that has changed and he wants on a staff now he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
“I have had conversations in the past about coaching, but the timing wasn’t right. I believe I now am ready to coach,” Payton told Yahoo Sports in a phone interview Thursday night. “A lot of young NBA players are a voice away from reaching their true potential. I would like to join an NBA staff where I can help coach, mentor and guide players toward the hard work, focus and determination needed to become a reliable contributor to a team’s success.”
Payton has a wealth of basketball knowledge on both ends of the court. Known first and foremost for his lockdown, physical defense — hence his nickname “The Glove” (which became a thing with Michael Jordan during “The Last Dance”) — he averaged 16.3 points and 6.7 assists per game over the course of a 17-year NBA career. Payton has told NBC Sports he’s not sure he could have been the same defender in today’s game with no hand-checking or contact allowed on the perimeter, but the knowledge of what it takes to be an elite defender is still in him.
Payton has said before he had a growing interest in coaching, but this time he seems serious. There must be a team or two that could use a Hall of Famer in a player development spot and start him on a coaching path.