Cameron Payne recalls a brief conversation during his rookie year with Thunder assistant Monty Williams that led to his latest NBA opportunity, writes Gina Mizell of The Valley Tales Newsletter. Williams, now the head coach of the Suns, decided to take a chance on Payne when the team had a roster spot to fill prior to the resumption.
“That (discussion) played into … my talks with (general manager James Jones about signing him),” Williams said. “I saw a young man who’s really talented, comes from a really good family and he takes coaching well.”
Payne’s career has featured a lot of disappointment after Oklahoma City made him a lottery pick in 2015. He battled through injuries and ineffective performances with the Thunder and Bulls, and had been out of the league since signing a pair of 10-day contracts with the Cavaliers last January. He had a brief stay in China this season, then joined the G League to help get his game back on track.
“I don’t want to see myself outside of this league again,” Payne said. “And the biggest way for me to do that is to be consistent, be on time and outwork the next guy. My whole thing is I want to leave on the court that I played my hardest. I gave my all. I never want to take no shortcuts anymore, because it’s not worth it. It’s not worth being on the outside looking in when you feel like you should be in there.”
There’s more from the Pacific Division: