Payne needs to play faster than Paul has been playing
This version of the Phoenix Suns may not shoot a bunch of three-pointers, but the reality is the team is best when they are playing fast. While the postseason does slow games down, Paul’s play has exacerbated that for Phoenix.
One of Payne’s greatest strengths is his pace, which can translate against a big, but not necessarily quick, Denver Nuggets team. Payne needs to make a dedicated effort to push the ball on misses and makes, as the Clippers did to the Suns, to pressure the Nuggest defense and to get everyone easy buckets in transition.
At times in game two, we saw some of the best Durant we have in a while when he could get out in the open floor and attack the rim in transition. Payne can help facilitate that kind of play for Phoenix by pushing the tempo as Booker did.
Payne needs to create more than he does score for this Suns team
Back in 2020-21, when Payne replaced Paul against the Clippers, Phoenix needed him to score, and he did produce one 29-point, nine-assist performance. While it would be fantastic to get that kind f performance from Payne, the Suns need one of those big numbers more than the other.
With Durant and Booker bringing in over 60 points every night, scoring is not the most crucial offensive contribution Payne can make. Although Phoenix does need a third scorer, rather than Payne trying to do that himself, he would be better served with feedback on his big three.
The more easy buckets Payne can create for Booker, Durant, and Deandre Ayton, the better off Phoenix will be. The easiest way for Payne to stay on the floor is to get DA involved and create some easy for Durant and Book. Our superstars have been working hard to get their points; some easy looks would be nice.