Damian Lillard said he doesn't plan to play if the Blazers don't have a real chance at the playoffs in a resumed NBA season.
Meanwhile, Gary Payton was apparently a little miffed about Michael Jordan laughing at him in The Last Dance.
But which Bay Area point guard product would you choose? I asked our Ben Pickman and "The Fantasy Exec" Corey Parson for their takes.
Pickman for Lillard: Lillard doesn't have the resume that Gary Payton currently has just yet. But he does have five NBA All Star appearances on his resume and one first team All NBA appearance. And this season he was averaging a career best 29 points and 8 assists per game. Lillard also has made a ton of clutch shots in the postseason and we've seen him perform in those moments. One other thing going for him is the durability factor. He's never missed more than 10 games in an NBA season. So you know he's going to be reliable if you're trying to build the team around him. He obviously has played in an era full of great point guards, and so his overall profile is a little thin as a result. But I think I would go with Damian Lillard long term for his offensive playmaking and for his ability to step up in those big moments throughout his career.
Parson for Payton: Dame Time is one thing, but being able to lock an opponent down is something that Gary Payton was very good at and probably one of the best, especially at the point guard position. You look at nine NBA defensive teams, first teams, NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Offense does not translate through generations. But Dame Dolla, you know, plays in the league where defense is still being played and we're not seeing him do that. Not to take anything away from him. But when you look at Gary Payton with the Sonics, they did go to the Finals. He was a leader for that team and they had some pretty deep playoff runs. While Damian Lillard's team, the past three years, has been swept out of the playoffs. Now last year that happened in the Conference Finals but before that it happened in the first round. When you talk about Gary Payton, the guy is top 10 in assists and top five in steals. So I think history looks at Gary Payton very well.
Verdict: I think this depends on the makeup of your roster. If you have some defenders and versatility there, you might want Dame for clutch scoring. Or, if you have one star and need a supporting star, maybe you go Dame. But if you already have scoring and shooting personnel, then I think you take Gary Payton for his overall ability.