A player who was previously cut has now proven to be a key component of the Golden State Warriors. Gary Payton II, son of legendary Hall of Famer Gary Payton, was battling for that 15th spot on the GSW roster. Now he a valuable reserve who made an unexpected development in his game.

He competed with veteran guard Avery Bradley for the Warriors’ final roster spot, while Stephen Curry and Draymond Green had reportedly advocated for Bradley to make the roster. Eventually, both Payton and Bradly got waived with several others, but Payton was called back days later.

The Warriors released a Dunk Show highlight reel of GPIIL

Payton II played in the NBA for the last five years, but was never impactful for any team, appearing in only 10 games for the Warriors last season. He also played in the G League.

Are you excited for baseball?*
This poll gives you free access to our premium politics newsletter. Unsubscribe at any time.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The 28-year-old is now averaging 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals in 18 minutes per game.

With Payton on the floor, the Warriors have blown out opponents, boasting an 87 defensive rating with Payton on the floor, a number 13 points better than the Warriors’ already-league-leading defense. They have outscored opponents by an average of 36 points per 100 possessions over their last eight games with Gary on the court.

Payton is that ‘annoying’ type of player for any offense,  often reaching around opponents and knocking the ball away with his quick hands to make a steal. Gary Payton II’s nickname ‘The Mitten’ is a play off his father’s nickname, ‘The Glove.’

Head coach Steve Kerr supported Payton, saying “he’s more than earned his place on the team. He’s got to be out there more often.”