Don’t let Elfrid Payton fool you, the Phoenix Suns still need a point guard

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 30: Elfrid Payton
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 30: Elfrid Payton /

The Phoenix Suns traded for Elfrid Payton minutes before the trade deadline, but his lack of 3-point shooting and defense should leave fans wanting more.

With minutes left until the 2018 NBA trade deadline, the Phoenix Suns dealt a mid-second round pick for 2014 lottery pick and Orlando Magic point guard, Elfrid Payton.

On the surface, this looks like a great deal for the Phoenix Suns. They just lost Isaiah Cannon for the season, Devin Booker has been banged up, and Tyler Ulis is just not an NBA starting point guard.

However, Elfrid Payton was dealt for close to nothing by the Orlando Magic for a reason, he is not a good NBA point guard.

Kellan Olson, a writer at and a long time fan of Elfrid Payton, tweeted this out in response to the trade:

Not a Shooter

The Phoenix Suns are 29th in the NBA in 3-point percentage and adding Elfird Payton to the mix doesn’t solve anything. In fact, it adds to the problem. While Payton’s 3-point percentage this year is a career-high at 37.3 percent, he still holds an abysmal 30.5 percent for his career. Even then, don’t let his current percentage fool you: he has only made 25 3-pointers so far this season.

To add a little perspective, Troy Daniels has made 126 3-pointers this year despite coming off the bench. Even Tyler Ulis has dropped in 26 this season.

Payton does nothing to help spread the court or open up lanes for Booker and T.J. Warren. In order for Devin Booker to thrive in the NBA, he needs space to operate and room to get his shot off. Unfortunately, that’s not happening with Payton in the lineup.

Disappointing Defense 

Coming into the league, Elfrid Payton was widely regarded by NBA draft scouts as a potential defensive superstar. He even won the Lefty Driesell Award as the nation’s top defender in college. Unfortunately, Payton has not lived up to that billing in his first three seasons in the NBA.

But how bad is he really? Well, in a recent article by Scott Scricca of the Orlando Magic Daily, he breaks down how Elfrid Payton isn’t just a bad defender, he is easily one of the worst defenders in the entire NBA.

Read and share this article below because the numbers are staggering:

Scricca writes, “He [Elfrid Payton] has conceded nearly 48 points more than an average player would have on the same number of possessions. That is worst in the league by a wide margin. It is particularly astonishing considering he has played nearly 10 fewer games than the rest of the bottom five.” Look, I knew Payton wasn’t a great defender but this is just absurd. The Suns already rank 30th in the NBA in team defense and this deal isn’t going to help them jump to league average anytime soon.

For a second-round pick, Elfrid Payton was well worth the asking price. Plus, at 23-years-old, he still has potential to grow as an NBA player.

However, if you are viewing Elfrid Payton as the starting point guard that helps lead the Phoenix Suns back into the playoffs, you need to think again. This deal does not solve any of the Suns’ glaring issues and possibly even makes them worse.

Next: Tuesday's trade deadline and it’s impact on the summer

While I am personally excited to see  Payton’s hair in every Suns game for the rest of the season, this is sadly not a deal to get excited about.

Adding Elfrid Payton shouldn’t dissuade the Suns from drafting either Luka Doncic or Trae Young in the upcoming draft nor stop them from pursuing a point guard in free agency.