Gary Payton II confident he can guard any player 'one through five'

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GP2 confident he can guard any player 'one through five' originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

It's never easy following the footsteps of a legend. Especially when that legend is your father. 

Gary Payton II's road to the NBA has been much different, longer and windier than his Hall of Fame father's. The two do have something in common on the court, though -- they're both defensive menaces. 

The elder Payton is perhaps the greatest defensive point guard of all time. While his son isn't quite on that level -- nobody is -- he does have the same confidence that made his father ready to lock-up the best of the best on a nightly basis. 

"Nothing. Doesn't matter, one through five," Payton II said Monday when asked what the difference is for him going against guards compared to wings. "It really doesn't matter." 

The Warriors waited until the very last minute to make Payton II their 15th and final player on the roster. That decision already has worked wonders, especially at the end of quarters.

On three separate occasions this season, coach Steve Kerr has subbed Payton in on defense at the end of a quarter. All three times, his defense has led to a steal. 

In the above clip, Payton II forced steals from Russell Westbrook, Tyrese Haliburton and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander -- three players who give others headaches with their offensive abilities.

"We have a game plan coming out of that timeout or whatever the situation may be when I get a chance to be subbed in and my teammates are talking to me from beginning to end, however long that may be," Payton II said. "I just try to help my team get a stop and right now we're doing a pretty good job at the end of quarters."

Kerr and Steph Curry praised Payton II for his defensive efforts after the Warriors' last two wins. And while the 28-year-old has worked extremely hard at multiple levels for a handful of teams to make his mark on The Association, he made it clear having Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala as teammates has been a big help. 

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"It's just great to have them vocally lead us into situations," Payton II said.

Green and Iguodala were expected to hold major keys to the Warriors' defense. Early on, Payton II has played himself into that same role, no matter what position he's guarding.

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