John Raoux/Associated Press
Summer League Stats: 25.8 MPG, 9.2 PPG, 7.0 APG, 5.2 RPG, 59% FG
He didn't even average double-figure scoring, yet Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton aced the first test of his NBA career.
The Louisiana-Lafayette product looked the part of a dynamic, multidimensional point guard as he picked apart opposing defenses at the Orlando Summer League. He averaged 9.8 assists per 36 minutes.
Payton anticipated lobs, crisply executed pick-and-rolls and found teammates in transition. He suffered a couple rashes of turnovers, but those should be cleaned up as he connects with his teammates.
As a shooter, he looked comfortable and confident, sinking several 15- to 20-foot jumpers. When he created off the dribble, he used his shiftiness and athleticism to get into the lane and finish strong. And he was also superb on defense, where he showed sharp instincts and put his physical tools to good use. Lastly, he mixed in some impressive rebounding.
If his jump shooting continues to improve, he will be the type of floor general who can do it all.
"His versatility, athleticism and length as a 6'4" point guard are characteristics that could help ease his transition from unheralded star at mid-major Louisiana-Lafayette to a potential impact player at the NBA's toughest position," said ESPN.com's Michael Wallace. In summer league Payton "showed the kind of all-around skills that allowed him to shoot to the top of many teams' boards at his position entering the draft."
There will be a learning curve and plenty of growing pains once he hits the regular season. However, his ultimate ceiling is two-way stardom.