As the 2019-20 NBA season resumed in Orlando, a host of teams battling for postseason action traveled into the bubble. Among those, two-way players who have spent the majority of the season in the G League. As well as players who have been subject to straight NBA call-ups.
A player who received a straight call-up was Cameron Payne, who was signed by the Phoenix Suns ahead of the season resumption in Orlando. The 26-year-old guard has been around the NBA quite frequently in his short NBA career to date.
He had previously suited up for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, and now the Phoenix Suns. As well as representing the Oklahoma City Blue, Windy City Bulls, and Texas Legends in the G League. Between November 2019 and January 2020, Payne also spent time in China with the Shanxi Loongs.
Upon returning from China, he signed for the Texas Legends until the league suspension in March 2020. In 15 G League games, Payne averaged 23.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 8.1 assists, and 2.3 steals. On 48.3% shooting from the field, 36.5% from 3-point land.
His performances in the NBA’s minor league earned him another shot at the big time. This time with the Suns, who signed the 6-foot-3 guard on a multi-year deal.
Payne certainly didn’t disappoint in his latest NBA opportunity, as he played in 8 contests in the Orlando bubble. He was a regular piece of the Suns’ rotation that went 8-0 and missed out on the postseason by 0.5 games.
In those 8 games, Payne posted averages of 10.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal. Whilst shooting 48.5% from the field and an incredible 51.7% from beyond the arc, on 3.6 attempts per game. Most impressively, the 26-year-old averaged just 22.9 minutes per contest.
He had 15-point outings against the Indiana Pacers and Dallas Mavericks on August 6 and August 13, respectively. On August 10, he played a season-high 33 minutes against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Scoring 14 points, whilst also adding 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.
Over the course of the 8 games, Payne brought it on both ends of the ball. He dictated play off the bench in an up-tempo manner and providing a scoring punch in limited minutes. He only averaged 1.4 turnovers per contest and was a +23.1 in net rating.
Cameron Payne’s averages in points, rebounds, steals (tied), and 3-point percentage, were all NBA career-highs. As well as his field goal percentage and assists being the 2nd highest in his career.
He certainly returned with a bang, grabbing his latest opportunity with both hands, proving exactly why he belongs in the NBA moving forward.
During his time in Orlando with the Suns, Payne earned $196,288, as per Spotrac. For the 2020-21 season, he has a $1,977,011 team option.