Gary Payton II works out for the Pacers

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan and Gary Payton II go way back. All the way back to when the now 23 year old, was in diapers.

"He was like an uncle to me," Payton said after his predraft workout with the Pacers. "He treated me like one of his own, so he's family"

McMillan and Payton's father, Gary Payton, played alongside one another for nearly a decade with the Seattle Supersonics and Payton remembers those days well, running wild as a child around key arena.

"In the practice room I always wanted to be with my dad and I would just go around and mess with the players."

So what was it like growing up in the shadow of a hall of fame father, when you're pursuing your own dream on the court?

"He's always gonna be on the sideline chipping and chirping at me," Payton said of his legendary dad. "But I know how to handle it, it's nothing but good advice from a hall of famer."

Gary Payton II hopes that he can be given a chance to play in the league and leave a legacy just as his father did. However, Payton wants to be viewed as his own player with his own strengths and weaknesses, separate from his father.

"In high school there was a turning point. My junior year I decided I'm not gonna worry about it anymore, I'm gonna be my own guy and play my own game."

With the draft 22 days away, the idea of Payton playing for one of his father's closest friends and someone he considers family, is appealing to him.

"I would love to work for him and play for him you know, just work hard, come here and help the organization."

The 6'3 guard is being projected as a likely second round pick.

 

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