Gary Payton II was a plus-17 in the plus-minus in the Warriors' 104-96 loss to the Suns on Tuesday, with eight points and seven rebounds.
His defense has been a strong point for the Warriors. Payton II has 29 steals this season.
His father Gary Payton, a nine-time All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year (1996), was known as “The Glove” for his lockdown defense.
Payton II, nicknamed “Young Glove,” sat down with NBC Sports Bay Area before the Dubs’ latest road trip for a Q&A about carrying his father’s name as he begins his own NBA career, and the date on the calendar he cannot get out of his mind.
The Q&A was lightly edited for clarity.
Kerith Burke: You're in a position when you hold the name Gary Payton II that anytime you do something well on the floor, it's going to be compared to your father. How does that feel?
Payton II: It's pretty normal now. I know the comparison was going to be there and what I tried to do is just try to make sure I...how can I put this...just continue to be myself but try to limit the things on defense that are bad. And, you know, continue to live up to the hype and the name.
This probably happened in high school, in college when you went to Oregon State [his father’s alma mater]. Now you’re in the NBA. Does it annoy you a little bit when your dad is mentioned for every good play?
No, doesn't annoy me anymore. Maybe in junior high school, like smaller ages, younger ages, probably. But I've grown up, matured and I understand what's going to come with it and you know, I just try to play the best way I play and continue to be me.
And I wonder, because of how good both of you are at basketball, if people think every time you're together it’s a meeting of the basketball minds. How often do you actually talk hoop with your dad?
Not too often! We talk about probably every other sport. You know, when something comes on or it’s a big game, we'll chat about [basketball] for a little bit. But, you know, we try to just keep it a family orientated and just have fun.
What is your favorite memory with your dad that does not involve basketball?
Favorite memory...there's so many. We used to go on these vacations all the time in Hawaii and have a good time with the family. He doesn't know how to swim. We were playing football [in the pool] one time and the ball went in the deep end. He went to go get it, like this natural, competitive reaction, you just went to go get it. And he couldn’t touch the floor anymore. He looked like he was swimming for his life so we all had to go in there and get him back to the shallow parts. That's probably one that stands out, he almost drowned...but it was a good memory! (laughing) Now we think think back on it, you know it's funny, but we all jumped in saved him. It was a nice little family moment.
The time your dad almost drowned in Hawaii! How often do you get to take vacations as a family?
Not too many. As of now, you know, just with everything going on, it's hard to move around and travel. We try to catch back up all together when we're here for games and stuff.
How do you want to make a name for yourself in the NBA?
Just continue to be me and play the way I'm going to play basketball. Don't try to favor his game or somebody else's game. Just go out there and play basketball and do the things I know how to do really well.
Can you define that a little more? What do you think are the hallmarks of how you play this game?
Above the rim. I’m more athletic than I think he is. I think the defense is the same. We play defense the same, but differently in this generation. Continue to work on my offensive abilities. Continue to work on my shooting, get that to a high percentage. Continue to cut and do what I do without the ball.
I don't think I need the ball that much to make an impact on offense, you know, set screens and slip and whatnot. The ball usually finds me. My teammates do a great job of that. And just continue to be a vocal leader and continue to lead these young guys. I'm also getting help from Draymond [Green] and everybody who has been here. Steph [Curry]. Just continue to learn.
When you say “more athletic” than you dad, is that because of the era you’re playing in or your verticality? Is it the game today?
A little bit of both. I don't think he was that springy. He can get up a little bit but he wasn't above the rim nightly, doing things like how I dunk the ball. But you know, he was still pretty athletic.
What do you think about your start to the season so far?
I think we’ve a pretty great start. You know, just take one day at a time continue to learn and be consistent and work every night and just get the energy and effort. Hopefully, we stay healthy and we keep pushing…
I knew you’d answer that for the team, but your start. Your start to the season.
My start? I think it's been well, I'm still learning. I still, you know, get on myself for little defensive hiccups. I kind of can't afford that in my position, I want to make it to January 10. Just continue to do whatever I do to help the team. I tell all the guys, teammates, and my coaching staff to stay on me.
Don't let me rest or whatever because we're having a good start. Just continue to be consistent. And work on my shot. I know I'm gonna have open shots. If I can knock down more open shots, that will help me a lot and help the team down the run. So just continue to be solid and consistent every night.
You’ve made a great impact on this team, on both sides of the ball. Even with this impact, you still have January 10th [the date the NBA guarantees all standard contracts for the remainder of the season] in the back of your mind?
Yeah, absolutely. That's the day that I set another short-term goal to get to. I try not to think about it, but after games or whatever, I know what the date is. I can't afford to have missed [defensive] hiccups and whatnot. So, do whatever I can to help this team.