Did the Phoenix Suns miss out on Elfrid Payton?

Phoenix Suns, Elfrid Payton (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Elfrid Payton (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Phoenix Suns acquired him, then let him go. But did they give up too soon on Elfrid Payton?

When you think of a near triple-double average in Phoenix Suns history you think of Jason Kidd – the franchise leader in the category.

You don’t think of point guards who we were told was a complete bust when acquired for a second round pick and who the franchise never intended on keeping long-term when initially acquired.

And yet through two games with the New Orleans Pelicans that’s precisely what former Sun Elfrid Payton is averaging: a near triple-double. 10.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 8.0 assists.

Yeah, yeah, that’s on the Pelicans and they’ve got Anthony Davis.

But the Phoenix Suns have Devin Booker.

The Pelicans though have Alvin Gentry.

Igor Kokoskov was an Assistant for Gentry.

The New Orleans Pelicans are overall much better than the Suns.

You have me there, but it doesn’t mean that Elfrid Payton wouldn’t be producing a similar line in Phoenix at the start of this season.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

Let’s not forget too that Ryan McDonough’s full and entirely focused attention was on tanking as hard as possibly to get those ping pong balls with Deandre Ayton‘s name on them. So when Payton was playing, for the most part he was saddled with a G-League roster and after Payton’s incredible first nine-game streak ended, they benched him because…what? He was too  bad?

They benched a point guard because he sucked too bad on a team that was built to suck really bad?

Peyoton wasn’t given an opportunity to return and play with a team that included a re-invigorated Devin Booker. That now included Deandre Ayton. That was built to compete with Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson, Mikal Bridges, and a far better bench.

He was told “thank you for your service” and to take a hike.

He then signed for exactly $3 million with the Pelicans, less than what he made last season with the Suns, and in their first two games has produced exactly what we all know he can produce – when he’s hot.

But let’s take something else into consideration: even when he’s not hot, is he still not better than Isaiah Canaan? Is he still not both better than and more experienced that Elie Okobo and De’Anthony Melton?

Would he not starting, on a veteran’s minimum contract, the easiest contract to waive in the middle of a season if it doesn’t work out, not be better than what the Suns are getting thus far?

Next. The Phoenix Suns' defense must improve for them to win. dark

Elfrid Payton is not a savior. He’s not a great point guard. But he was  on this roster. He had a familiarity with most of the players and the arena, and has cut his hair.

The Phoenix Suns are in need of a starting caliber point guard.

Did they miss the boat on re-signing Elfrid?

Only time will tell, but the early results say: yes.