4. Gary Payton II, Golden State Warriors
Gary Payton II was a key member of the 2022 championship-winning Golden State Warriors team. That Warriors team played exceptional defense and Payton was the team’s best perimeter defender.
Payton’s strong play earned him a pay day with the Portland Trail Blazers last summer but that did not last long as he was re-acquired by the Warriors this season at the deadline. There were some complications with his health and physicals but Payton is back on the floor now for the Warriors.
Long before his strong tenure with the Warriors, he had a very short tenure with the Lakers. While they ultimately did not hang onto Payton, it is yet another example of the Lakers having an eye for talent.
How the Lakers can face the Warriors in the NBA Playoffs:
The path to playing the Golden State Warriors is essentially the same as the Los Angeles Clippers. The Warriors are currently the sixth seed in the West and are half a game ahead of the Timberwolves.
If the Warriors stay as the sixth seed then LA needs to be the seventh seed and both teams need to win in round one. If Golden State climbs at all then LA will have to go through Denver. The most likely outcome, though, would be Golden State falling into the play-in.