Cam needs to limit the turnovers and remember the lines
The tricky part about trying to be more of a playmaker, which Payne can do, is that it can sometimes come at the cost of turnovers. If Phoenix has a chance to beat Denver, they need to limit the turnovers, which begins with Payne.
This plight of pushing the tempo and attacking the defense without turning the ball over is one Payne has successfully navigated before and will be critical to his and the Suns’ success.
With the lines, there are two that Payne needs to keep his mind on, the free throw line on offense and the three-point line on defense.
If Payne is trying to create offensively, he will be probing and attacking the defense, and he needs to turn some of those probing attacks into free throws. One of the best ways to get to the line is by attacking the basket, and one of the strengths of Payne’s arsenal is dribble penetration. Getting fouls on the Nuggets’ bigs would be a positive for Phoenix.
Defensively, the three-point line has been one of the differences in the series. Especially in game one, Denver has held a significant advantage from three-point range. Payne needs to be a pest defensively and work to force the Denver shooters off their spots and contest the threes. Phoenix was better at contesting threes in game two but needs even more in game three, and that starts with the guards.
Asking Payne to win the game is not realistic, but asking Payne to put the team in a position to win is not; by playing smart yet fast basketball, Cam can help get Phoenix back in this series.