20. Gary Payton II
Payton II, the son of a Hall of Fame point guard, played a key defensive role off the bench for the Warriors on their way to winning the championship in 2022. The 6’3 guard bounced around the league before that, and he was even out of the NBA at times.
Payton II was always known as a strong perimeter defender, but his offensive game was not there. He hit key shots during the Warriors’ postseason run and did enough to earn him a three-year contract worth $26.1 million with the Blazers in the 2022 offseason.
Fans may forget that Payton II signed a two-way contract with the Lakers back in Jan. 2018. They saw his impressive play in the G League and gave him a shot. The 25-year-old had flashes during his time in LA, including going off for 25 points and 12 rebounds to defeat the LA Clippers in the 2017-2018 regular-season finale. He showed his potential, but the Lakers let him walk in free agency.
Payton II bounced to Portland and Washington before settling in and finding a role with the Warriors. He is back with Golden State after a midseason trade, and the Los Angeles Lakers certainly regret letting him get away.