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Watch: Payton posts triple double in 3rd game with Suns

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

New Suns point guard Elfrid Payton is one of only three NBA players averaging at least 20 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists per game since the trade deadline, when he was acquired by the Suns for a second round pick.

The others? LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.

Among the three, Payton has by far the highest FG percentage (57%) and three point percentage (50%).

These averages include a triple double, the first for a Phoenix Suns player in a year (Eric Bledsoe). This was Payton’s 9th career triple double. Only six NBA players have more triple-doubles since Payton entered the league in the 2014-15 season.

Even better, Payton’s 18.3 “potential” assists per game (including shots missed by teammates off a Payton pass) rank third in the entire league, behind only Westbrook and Rajon Rondo.

I know it’s only three games. But on that last category, Payton came to the Suns ranked 10th in the league on potential assists (12.9 per game) for the season with the Magic, so he’s stepped it up with the Suns but it’s not a complete mirage.

By comparison, Devin Booker is second on the Suns this season with 9.8 potential assists per game, with Isaiah Canaan, Mike James and Tyler Ulis all averaging less than 9 potential assists per game.

Watch Payton’s first triple double with the Suns and you’ll see his 12 actual assists where teammates made the shot. But you’ll have to watch the whole game to catch the other dozen (he had 24 potential assists Wednesday night).

Nice to see several of Payton’s assists were setting up Devin Booker for easy catch-and-shoot threes like we always wanted to see.

Booker had 28 points, 3 assists and 5 rebounds in his return, including making 6 of 14 threes, as Payton, Booker and Josh Jackson (22 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists) helped the Suns stay close to the Jazz in Utah (down just three with two minutes left) after losing at home to the Jazz with an ailing Booker and before Payton arrived last week.

Here’s Booker’s highlights for those missing him.

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