Elf is back.
Elfrid Payton, who played for the Phoenix Suns in the 2017-18 season, is returning to the Valley, per Alex Kennedy.
The 6-3 guard played and started 19 games for the Suns, shooting 43% from the field for 11.8 points along with 6.2 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1 steal in 29 minutes per game.
That was a dark time in Phoenix as the team won a measly 21 games that season and was 1-18 with Payton running point.
It wasn’t all his fault, though, as the main rotation featured Troy Daniels, Josh Jackson, T.J. Warren, Dragan Bender and a 35-year-old Tyson Chandler. Devin Booker was on the team but he dealt with various nagging injuries during that period, missing most of those games.
As a suns fan I’m thrilled to have Elfrid Payton back, to bring back our old starting PG (regardless how that went) to now be our 3rd AND we know he plays hard. I’m all about it #WeAreTheValley #RallyTheValley— Glenden (@glennysports) August 6, 2021
Last season with the New York Knicks, Elfrid shot 43% from the field for 10.1 points along with 3.2 assists and 0.7 steals in 23.6 minutes per game. He played a total of 13 minutes in their playoff run going 0-for-5 from the field with 1 assist and 1 steal.
He’s still only 27 years old and clearly the team sees something in him like they did in Cameron Payne prior to the Bubble. We saw how that turned out.
Payton isn’t going to lock down players on defense and he isn’t a good shooter but he is a good teammate that is excellent at being a facilitator, can rebound well for his size and make smart, quick decisions. That will be a good fit in 0.5 second offense the Suns run.
To anyone not liking this move, keep in mind that he likely won’t be on the court much as he will be a 3rd point guard behind Chris Paul and Payne. He’s being brought in as a reserve playmaker and in that role is a clear upgrade over E’Twaun Moore.
Elfrid Payton started 63 out of 72 games on a Knicks team that was 4th in the Eastern Conference last season. Not going to find many 3rd string PGs better than him on a Veterans minimum deal. 10pts 3rbs 3ast on 23 mins per game. Another solid rotation guy! Still got 4.5m MLE! pic.twitter.com/jECMy8uaWg— FLEX From Jersey (@FlexFromJersey) August 6, 2021
I tend to agree. You can’t do much worse for the minimum role he will likely be getting on the team and he’s a good dude. We will also be reminded of how far we have come as a team.
Welcome back, Elf!