3 players fighting to be the Phoenix Suns’ fifth starter.
3. Cameron Payne
Before you skip over this slide entirely, at least give Cameron Payne the benefit of the doubt and listen to his case. Payne does not seem to be fancied by many Suns fans to have a big impact on this team heading into next season, and yet there are a smaller subsection who do acknowledge that he has had a couple of postseason moments for the franchise in the past.
Payne may not be to your liking, but he is the only traditional point guard this roster now has. He has also played 178 regular season games for the team, and is one of their longest tenured players. Payne spent the last three seasons backing up and learning from Chris Paul, and has always been ready and willing when called upon. This is a challenge he is up to.
The real downside here is that Payne is, at best, an average point guard in the league. His 9.8 points and 4.2 assists for his career so far are, just like the player, just fine. Much more interesting is the 38.4 percent he has shot from deep in four seasons with the team, and if can continue to knock down that many shots, he will give coach Vogel something to think about.
He gets the Suns into their sets relatively smoothly, and he would have no problem deferring to the superstars and getting out of the way most of the time. Payne would never call his own number, and would only look to facilitate. Again, this is a plus when building out a case for the 28-year-old.
But starting Payne would mean a backcourt of Beal and himself which would be, to put it nicely, weak defensively. It would also ask a lot of Booker and Durant on that end as well, because Payne is such a negative because of his small stature. The only way this works is if Ayton and Durant are All-Defense candidates. This is an option, just not the one the Suns should look to first.