Gary Payton says current NBA players lack will to play defense


During his visit to Tokyo, the 44-year old former all-star guard Gary Payton said current NBA players lack will to play defense, describing the typical mind-set of today’s players.

“Since there’s not too much defense played in the NBA now, to get a guy, who wants to be in his mentality and say, you know what, ‘I’m going to go play defense just like Gary Payton because I’m going to figure it out with him,’ it would be great to do that. And I think a lot of guys want to do that, but nowadays you don’t have to do that because ain’t nobody going to guard you like that and then you can score as many points,” Payton said with a hint of regret.

Payton himself, a 9-time NBA All-Star was a fearless scorer and as intense on defense as one could be. Defense was Payton’s signature trait, but he excelled as a complete all-around guard. He said he could impart a wealth of defensive wisdom to current players, but isn’t convinced that it would be time well spent, Japan Times reported.

“I can get 35 and you get 30 and I won. It doesn’t equal out to me. To let somebody get 30 points on you, and you feel good because you got 35 on them, that’s not good for me. If I get 35, I want him to get 12 or 14 because that means I’ve done something. I’ve done my job. I went out there and played hard and did what I had to do,” he explained to Hoop Scoop.

Speaking about establishing a “Gary Payton” camp for point guards, former NBA player and a Seattle Supersonic start said only guys with strong mentality would be entering such camp.

“It would be good if I can get it started but my main concern is I would have to have guys who want to be dedicated to do that. I don’t want to waste my time,” Payton said, who was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team nine times.

Payton first came in Japan for the first time in 1992, while playing for the Sonics. On Nov. 6-7, 1992, Seattle and the Houston Rockets opened the NBA regular season with a pair of games at Yokohama Arena, with the Sonics winning both.

Five years later, Payton was back in Japan for a Nike-sponsored trip, “going around to a lot of different cities, and a lot of different stores that we were going to, a lot of crowds out in the stores,” he recalled. “It was chaos everywhere.”

Payton is serving as an AND1 Live streetball tour coach, a 25-game commitment that’s one of his current projects.

In addition, these days, his NBA connections are also deeply rooted in Seattle, the city where he made a name for himself. Payton is actively involved in helping bring an NBA team back to the city. The Sonics left in 2008 and became the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Government officials from Seattle and King County have approved a plan to build a new arena in the city.

Seattle’s target is the 2015-16 season, possibly the Sacramento Kings, but first that team would have to be sold and relocated.

“I want to get that team back there and when that team comes back I’ll probably be in the front office or something with that. But I don’t really want to be a coach,” he revealed. “I want to be a guy who evaluates the talent and brings the talent there. I don’t want to have somebody evaluate my talent for me and then give it to me as the coach, the guy I don’t want to have.

“I know that I can pick a guy and I know he’s going to be good and I know that he’s going to be able to play. Some people stray away from headaches. I think I can take a headache and make him a great basketball player and talk to him.”

Payton himself was drafted in the NBA in 1990 with No. 2 overall pick. out of Oregon State by the Seattle SuperSonics. He spent his 16-year NBA career with Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. He won the NBA championship with the Miami Heat in 2006.

The 193-cm star averaged 16.3 points, 6.7 assists and 1.8 steals in 1,335 regular-season contests. His best season was with the Seattle Supersonics in 99-00, when Payton averaged 24.2 ppg and 8.9 apg in all 82 games.

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