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Gary Payton's Stats For Each Season: The Glove Was One Of The Best Point Guards In The 90s

Gary Payton's Stats For Each Season: The Glove Was One Of The Best Point Guards In The 90s

Gary Payton is regarded as one of the greatest point guards of all time. He is best known for his 13 years of service to the Seattle SuperSonics where he tied a record for most All-Defensive First Team selections. Payton’s dedication to Seattle runs so deep that he has refused to have his number retired with the Oklahoma City Thunder, citing that he will only accept that honor when basketball returns to Seattle.

Payton also spent time with the Bucks, Lakers, Celtics, and Heat where he won a championship in 2006 with Miami. He would later be inducted into the Hall of Fame, going down as one of the greatest defenders ever. That is why he developed the nickname “The Glove” for his defensive abilities. With his son Gary Payton II winning a championship with the Warriors this past season, it set up a legacy of NBA champions. With that said, Payton II has a lot of work to do if he wants to reach the level of his father’s greatness.

Here are the stats, awards, and achievements for Payton for each season.


1990-91 NBA Season

Stats: 7.2 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 6.4 APG, 2.0 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Awards And Achievement: All-Rookie Second Team

Payton was chosen as the No. 2 overall pick in the 1990 NBA Draft. He recorded a double-double of points-assists in his third career game. Later in the season, he recorded his first triple-double. The following game he recorded two points but 16 assists, joining Slick Watts and Nate McMillan as the only players in franchise history to dish out 16 assists in their rookie season.

The season ended with Payton owning eight double-doubles of points and assists, which was the most in franchise history. His point total was low, but for his playmaking abilities, he was able to make the All-Rookie Second Team. That also included an eye-popping 2.0 steals per game.


1991-92 NBA Season

Stats: 9.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 6.2 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Awards And Achievement: None

His second season featured two triple-doubles, which tied a single-season record held by Watts and McMillan. Payton took a minor jump in his stat averages, but it was during a season that saw the team change. After an 18-18 start to the season, head coach K.C. Jones was fired and ultimately replaced by George Karl.

The SuperSonics were led by Ricky Pierce and Eddie Johnson at the time, while Shawn Kemp grew into a double-double type of player. The team finished fourth in the division but qualified for the playoffs. The SuperSonics were pitted against the Warriors in the first round and defeated the No. 3 seed Warriors in four games. In the semifinals, the Jazz won the series in five games.


1992-93 NBA Season

Stats: 13.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 4.9 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Awards And Achievement: None

The SuperSonics began to take a turn towards being one of the better teams in the conference. The team acquired Sam Perkins midway through the year and were 33-17 at the All-Star break. With a 10-game winning streak between February and March, the team finished 55-27 and reached the playoffs as the No. 3 seed.

Payton made the most improvement in his career. He finished sixth in the Most Improved Player of the Year voting. It gave a lot of promise to the future as Kemp made his first All-Star appearance. The SuperSonics defeated the Jazz in the first round after trailing 2-1. In the second round, the team defeated the Rockets in a seven-game series but then were defeated in seven games by the Phoenix Suns.


1993-94 NBA Season

Stats: 16.5 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 6.0 APG, 2.3 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Awards And Achievement: All-Star, All-NBA Third Team, All-Defensive First Team

Fresh off of nearly making the NBA Finals, the SuperSonics made a move to acquire Detlef Schrempf from the Pacers and acquired Kendall Gill from the Hornets. The SuperSonics got off to a great start with a 26-3 record and would be 35-10 heading into the All-Star break. The team finished the season winning 17 of their final 19 games and was the No. 1 team in the Western Conference. It was the first time the SuperSonics won the No. 1 seed since 1979.

Payton and Kemp made the All-Star Game, which was Payton’s first appearance. It would also be Payton’s first or nine straight appearances on the All-Defensive First Team. Payton finished the season sixth in the MVP voting. Despite the great regular season, the SuperSonics failed to make it out of the first round, becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 8 seed as the Nuggets won in five games.


1994-95 NBA Season

Stats: 20.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 7.1 APG, 2.5 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Awards And Achievement: All-Star, All-NBA Second Team, All-Defensive First Team

The SuperSonics got off to a slow start but finished January with a 10-game winning streak. The team was 33-12 midway through the season despite a few troubles. Free-agent pickup Bill Cartwright was limited to 29 games due to a groin injury, but the combination of All-Stars Payton, Schrempf, and Kemp played well to lead the SuperSonics to a 57-25 record.

After a surprising exit in last year’s playoffs, the SuperSonics were surprised once again. After winning their first game over the No. 5 seed Lakers, the team lost the next three games of the series. It would ultimately waste the first season that Payton averaged over 20.0 points per game.


1995-96 NBA Season

Stats: 19.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 7.5 APG, 2.9 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Awards And Achievement: All-Star, All-NBA Second Team, Defensive Player Of The Year, All-Defensive First Team, Steals Leader

Payton had been making a name for himself as a top defensive player in the league. The 1995-96 season would be the year that Payton would be the very best defensive player in the league. He would lead the league in steals and win the Defensive Player of the Year Award, while also being named an All-Star and another All-NBA Second Team selection.

The SuperSonics won 64 games to break a franchise record for wins and earned their third No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. The SuperSonics were 38-3 at home as well. After two years of disappointing exits, the team pushed past the Kings, Rockets, and Jazz to make their first NBA Finals since 1979. In the end, the team would fall to the 72-win Chicago Bulls, who are still the greatest team of all time.


1996-97 NBA Season

Stats: 21.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 7.1 APG, .2.4 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Awards And Achievement: All-Star, All-NBA Second Team, All-Defensive First Team

After their NBA Finals appearance, the SuperSonics remained one of the best teams in the Western Conference. The team enjoyed an 11-game winning streak and a nine-game winning streak during the season. The SupeSonics won their third divisional title in four years and posted 57 wins. The team captured the No. 2 seed in the standings and was once again led by their All-Star trio of Payton, Kemp, and Schrempf. Payton was the runner-up in the DPOY voting, while he was sixth in the MVP voting.

The SuperSonics trailed 2-1 to the seven-seeded Suns in the first round but won the series in five games. In the second round, the team took a 3-1 series lead to the Rockets but ultimately fell in seven games. This would mark the final season for Kemp, who was traded to the Cavaliers in the offseason.


1997-98 NBA Season

Stats: 19.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 8.3 APG, 2.3 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Awards And Achievement: All-Star, All-NBA First Team, All-Defensive First Team

To make up for the loss of Kemp, the team acquired All-Star forward Vin Baker and outside shooter Dale Ellis in a trade with the Nuggets. The team started the season with a 13-3 record and kept that momentum going by winning 29 of their first 35 games. The team finished tied for first place in the division with the Lakers with 61 wins. Baker and Payton led the team in scoring with both players being selected to the All-Star Game. Payton was third in the MVP voting and eighth in the DPOY standings.

The playoffs saw the SuperSonics struggle in the first round as the team trailed 2-1 to the seven-seeded Timberwolves. The team regained their composure and won five games. In the second round, the SuperSonics lost to the Lakers in five games despite winning Game 1. After the team was eliminated, George Karl was fired as the team’s head coach.


1998-99 NBA Season

Stats: 21.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 8.7 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Awards And Achievement: All-NBA Second Team, All-Defensive First Team

The lockout wiped away half of the season and the All-Star Game, which would have likely seen Payton playing in it. This also marked the first time with a new coach in many years as Paul Westphal was named the team’s replacement. The team battled with the change, while Baker was limited due to a thumb injury. The team finished the season 25-25 and missed out on the tie-breaker to qualify for the playoffs.

Payton was third in the DPOY voting and was ninth in the MVP standings. Payton was relied on heavily by the team throughout the season with Baker’s injury. Moving forward, it felt like the end of an era as Schrempf left the team to sign with the Trail Blazers.


1999-00 NBA Season

Stats: 24.2 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 8.9 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Awards And Achievement: All-Star, All-NBA First Team, All-Defensive First Team

Payton would have one of the best seasons in his career. It would be the second and final time that he would make the All-NBA First Team after he averaged a career-high in points per game, while his 8.9 assists were one of his best marks. Lacking the All-Star talent in comparison to years past, Payton led the team to a 45-37 record, while the team was the No. 7 seed in the playoffs.

Payton’s outside shooting was phenomenal as he led the league in three-point field goals. He tied for fifth in the DPOY voting and was sixth in the MVP voting. The SuperSonics were not as well-rounded though. That led to the team losing to the Jazz in the first round but the team pushed Utah to a full five-game series.


2000-01 NBA Season

Stats: 23.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 8.1 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Awards And Achievement: All-Star, All-NBA Third Team, All-Defensive First Team

With hopes of improving the team in the post, the SuperSonics acquired Patrick Ewing from the Knicks in the offseason. The move didn’t help the team get past a slow start. After a 6-9 start to the season, the SuperSonics fired Westphal and hired former Sonics player Nate McMillan. The team played better throughout the rest of the season and finished fifth in the division despite a 44-38 record.

The team missed the playoffs as the No. 10 seed in the conference. Meanwhile, other players attempted to step up to help the All-Star Payton. Rashard Lewis, Ruben Patterson, and Vin Baker all averaged double figures, while teammate Demond Mason won the Slam Dunk Contest. With that said, it was getting to a point where Payton was going to need more help for the team to make it back to the NBA Finals.


2001-02 NBA Season

Stats: 22.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 9.0 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Awards And Achievement: All-Star, All-NBA Second Team, All-Defensive First Team

Ewing left the team after one season, while the team made little moves in the offseason, signing Calvin Booth and Jerome James as their highlighted acquisitions. It would be the first full season for McMillan as the head coach and the team struggled to a 9-14 start. With that said, the team won 14 of their next 20 games and played above .500 for the rest of the regular season. The team finished fourth in the division with a 45-37 record and qualified for the playoffs as the No. 7 seed.

Payton would make his final All-Defensive First Team appearance and his last appearance on the All-NBA Team. He had another great regular season, where he was sixth in the MVP voting. The team’s season ended quickly in the playoffs, losing to the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. After the season, Baker was traded to the Celtics and the team underwent a logo change. The logo would not be the only major change in franchise history as this would be Payton’s final full season with the team.


2002-03 NBA Season

Stats: 20.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 8.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Awards And Achievement: All-Star

This season would mark the end of an era in Seattle. Payton feuded with new owner Howard Schultz, who had bought the team in 2001. Payton chose to not attend the first day of training camp, which angered Schultz. It was then that he decided it was time to make a trade.

In the middle of the season, Payton was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for Ray Allen, Kevin Ollie, and Ronald Murray. Payton played the final 28 games of the season with the Bucks and averaged 19.6 points and 7.4 assists. The Bucks made the playoffs and pushed the defending Eastern Conference champs in the New Jersey Nets in the first round before losing in six games.


2003-04 NBA Season

Stats: 14.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.5 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Awards And Achievement: None

After playing less than half of a season with the Bucks, Payton became a restricted free agent. Payton joined Karl Malone in signing with the Los Angeles Lakers to make a run at their first NBA championship. Payton started all 82 games for the Lakers but struggled with adapting to the triangle offense. Payton’s overall scoring took a tumble as he spent more time setting up the offense for Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

Injuries limited Malone, O’Neal, and Bryant, but the Lakers won 56 games. The Lakers made the NBA Finals, which was Payton’s first appearance since 1996. Payton would still be without a championship after the season once the Lakers lost to the Detroit Pistons in five games.


2004-05 NBA Season

Stats: 11.3 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 6.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Awards And Achievement: None

Before the season, the Lakers traded Payton and Rick Fox to the Boston Celtics for Chris Mihm, Jumaine Jones, and Chucky Atkins. Payton was unhappy with the trade because he joined the Lakers with championship aspirations. At this stage in his career, he didn’t have an interest in being a part of a non-championship contender. With that said, he reported to the Celtics and became the team’s starting point guard.

Payton was traded to the Atlanta Hawks in February for Antoine Walker and then the Hawks waived him immediately. Payton returned to the Celtics as a free agent a week later. He started all 77 games he played in and helped the Celtics win the Atlantic Division. In the playoffs, the team lost to the Pacers in the first round.


2005-06 NBA Season

Stats: 7.7 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 3.2 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.1 BPG

Awards And Achievement: NBA Champion

In the offseason, Payton joined the Miami Heat on a one-year deal. This reunited him with Shaquille O’Neal, who was his former Lakers teammate. Payton served as the backup to Jason Williams but made 25 starts in 81 games. Payton averaged 24.3 minutes of playing time and was often played by Pat Riley in high-pressure situations.

In the playoffs, Paton made a clutch three-pointer with 56 seconds left in Game 4 of the semifinals over the Nets to help Miami win. Payton shot 6 of 8 from the field in Game 1 of the Conference Finals against the Pistons to score 14 points. In the NBA Finals, Payton hit the game-winning shot in Game 3 to avoid falling to a 3-0 deficit. The Heat ultimately rattled off four straight wins to win the 2006 title, which helped Payton win his first championship.


2006-07 NBA Season

Stats: 5.3 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 3.0 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.0 BPG

Awards And Achievement: None

In his final season, Payton re-signed with the defending champions at 38 years old. Payton continued to serve as the team’s backup point guard, where he would average career lows in points and assists. During the season, Payton made moves up the all-time lists.

Payton finished the season eighth on the all-time games played list, as well as passed John Havlicek and Robert Parish in all-time minutes. He also moved past Larry Bird on the all-time scoring list. At the end of the season, Payton retired after the Heat’s season.


Career Resume

Stats: 16.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 6.7 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Awards And Achievement: NBA Champion, 9x All-Star, 2x All-NBA First Team, 5x All-NBA Second Team, 2x All-NBA Third Team, 1x Defensive Player Of The Year, 9x All-Defensive First Team, 1x Steals Leader

With great defense came great trash talk. Payton never wavered away from having confidence and he let the person he was guarding know all about it. Payton finished with the fourth-most technical fouls, which earned him a reputation as a difficult player to have in the locker room. However, Payton played hard and later became a very valuable mentor to other players in his later years.

The trait that always stood out the most was that Payton had some of the most mental toughness among any player in the league. It is something he has talked about himself to the media, while star players like Shaquille O’Neal and Antoine Walker have openly said they enjoyed playing with him. To play hard defense, you have to have a different kind of mindset. Not everyone can do it, which is why Payton was different compared to some other players in the league. When it comes to the best two-way players of all time, Payton is right at the top of that discussion. 

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