Elfrid Payton, the 10th pick in the 2014 Draft, has really been putting in work on his game. Coming from unheralded Louisiana-Lafayette, Payton took casual fans by surprise with his lofty draft selection and is starting to show that he has a real place as a starter on an NBA team and in fantasy squads the world over.
Hyped as one of the top rookies of his class and a potential fantasy stud, Payton lost his starting job to Evan Fournier when Victor Oladipo returned from his injury. However, over the course of the past couple months, Payton has successfully carried out his revenge by passing Fournier and reclaiming his starting gig permanently.
Over his past five games, he also appears to have gotten the hang of the starting point guard job, averaging 15.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 1.8 steals on 53 percent shooting from the field, 73 percent from the charity stripe, all in an average of 36 minutes per game.
Payton’s only real competition for the starting spot, Evan Fournier, has recently fallen off the cliff from his November statistics, and given Payton’s recent performances against Houston, Memphis, and Oklahoma City, his job seems to be secure. Payton is not without his faults: his percentages are bad, he’s turnover prone, and the Magic have a poor schedule for the fantasy playoffs. That said, he has greatly improved this season and should be owned in mid-sized and deep leagues.
With the playoffs completely out of sight for the tanking Magic, head coach Jacque Vaughn is giving Payton all the minutes he can handle. Lord Elfrid has been stepping up to the challenge, and showing why he was a lottery pick. If your team is in need of assists, steals, and maybe the occasional double-double, Payton is your guy.
Conclusion: Elfrid Payton is finally producing, and should not be on the waiver wire in leagues with 12 or more teams, and as with most rookies, things can only get better.