The Magic have to continue focusing on developing their players, but winning is also a huge goal. So, Payton has to get on board now, or never.
This offseason has been pretty decent for the Magic. They added two talented rookies with Jonathan Isaac and Wesley Iwundu. As well as gained a few solid free agents, like Arron Afflalo and Mo Speights. Now, it's time to wonder about the Magic players who were already on the team. Will Nikola Vucevickeep up his stellar production? Can Aaron Gordon prove he's the Magic's starting power forward? No doubt there are still questions flowing around in the tank. However, one question that comes up is all about Elfrid Payton.
The Magic decided not to draft a point guard this summer in a guard heavy class. Obviously, that seems weird at first, but it's clear the organization is willing to trust Payton for their future. He's still young at only 23 years old, so it's not like his prime is escaping him. Still, with the direction the league is going now, an excellent guard is vital.
Looking back at last season, he averaged 12.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 6.5 assists. Those are some impressive numbers, but he still has things to work on. Payton was never known as a knockdown shooter, and he doesn't have to be. Although, having a reliable jump shot would be beneficial in most situations of the game. He also can work on his defense off pick and rolls, and keep the turnovers down a bit.
Putting that aside, he has positives that Magic fans can bank on. He's a good passer, as well as a good scorer in traffic. Defensively he's top-notch for the most part, and he carries a calm, mature presence on and off the court. Those are qualities that can't be overlooked, but there needs to be an improvement. Orlando signed veteran PG Shelvin Mack over this offseason to back him up, along with D.J Augustin who's still with the team. Both of those guards can shoot well, which helps the team when Payton is sitting.
However, it'll still be Payton's team to run. He averaged 29.4 minutes per game last season, and that won't change in 2017-2018.
In the second half of last season, Payton played a lot better, and with more efficiency. He even grabbed a total of five triple-doubles, which is an amazing feat. He's not Russell Westbrook, but his all around game is present nonetheless. Overall, if he can just focus on his consistency, things will look better for him and the Magic as a whole. The trust is there. All he needs to do now is run with it.