If you’re paying attention, you’ll be hearing from Gary Payton a lot this week. More than likely, you already have heard from him a bunch. In case you had no idea why, here’s the reason: Payton is going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend.
Payton is one of the best point guards to ever touch an NBA floor–and, now, we’re finding out that he thinks our own Rajon Rondo is pretty good as well. Payton sat down for a one on one with Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears on Monday.
I recommend that you read that interview just for recreation, if nothing else. Among Rondo, Payton talked about his Hall of Fame speech he’ll be giving, the possibility of his jersey retiring in Oklahoma City, the battle between Seattle and Sacramento for the Kings this past season, and the differences between guarding Michael Jordan and John Stockton.
When Spears asked Payton about his favorite point guards in today’s game, here’s what he had to say:
Q (Marc Spears): There are a lot of really good point guards in today’s NBA. Who do you really like?
A (Gary Payton): “I’ve always liked Deron Williams because has the same mentality as me. They don’t play defense like we did. But [Williams] does do it on both ends of the floor and wants to. …I like him a lot. Another guy I like a lot and a lot of people think I dislike him is [Rajon] Rondo. He can’t score like I did, but he does everything else like I did.”
That’s some pretty high praise for Rondo from one of the best point guards to touch a hardwood floor. Payton thinking this is pretty cool, especially considering how he felt about Rondo a just a few years back.
This is a good sign for Rondo. It shows how much he’s progressed and how far he has come as an NBA player thus far in his career. He went from being a guy who didn’t have too much of an impact on a championship team to, now, a perennial All-Star.