Film Room: Assessment of Elfrid Payton in 2016-17

By Josh Cohen
April 18, 2017

Like several of his teammates, Elfrid Payton played significantly better when the Magic shifted to a small-ball lineup. Payton was more effective and dynamic when the game sped up.

The evidence is in the numbers. EP averaged 13.5 points, 8.4 assists and 7.0 rebounds after the Serge Ibaka for Terrence Ross trade (12.5, 5.7 and 3.8 before).

Payton continues to showcase his outstanding court vision, instincts and playmaking abilities. He’s an excellent passer and has quarterback-like management on the floor.

Watch Payton make a nice bounce pass underneath to Aaron Gordon for the slam:

Payton’s decisions are often unpredictable and he does a good job surveying the court. He makes no-look passes with ease and he sets up teammates well with nifty pocket passes and drop-offs. He also kept turnovers down this year.

Watch Payton deliver the no-look feed to Gordon in transition:

Already a crafty scorer when he sneaks in the paint because of his effective floater and teardrop (shot 58 percent within five feet from basket), Payton improved his mid-range pull up jump shot this season. It’s still not perfect, clearly, but he shot it with more confidence and had a higher percentage (39 percent this season, 31 percent last year).

Watch EP rise and launch over the reach of Karl-Anthony Towns:

Payton is very persistent and he became a terrific offensive rebounder when the Magic went small. In fact, Payton ranked No. 1 among all point guards in offensive rebounds after the All-Star break. By crashing the glass as often as he did, Payton was able to record five triple-doubles and come close to a few more.

Watch Payton sneak in the lane and tip in the missed shot:

Like his teammate Gordon, Payton needs to continue to improve his 3-point shot. With 3-point shooting as valuable and indispensable as it is in today’s NBA, it’s critical for a team’s point guard to be a threat from long distance.

Payton also needs to progress on the defensive end. While he’s very feisty and tenacious, EP struggles at times getting around screens and staying in front of his opponents.

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