Gary Payton: Deron Williams has 'the same mentality as me'

Otto Greule Jr

On Sunday, Gary Payton will be enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame; a well-deserved honor for the 9-time All-Star, 9-time All-Defensive First Teamer, 2-time All-NBA First Team and 1996 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

With that honor, Payton has been making the media rounds discussing his career, which included 13 seasons with the Seattle Supersonics and four seasons bouncing around the league, that concluded in winning the 2006 NBA Championship with the Miami Heat.

In an interview with Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports -- one which covers his career, basketball in Seattle, his battles with John Stockton and Michael Jordan, among other things -- Payton was asked about which point guards playing today he "really likes." His answer: Deron Williams.

Q: There are a lot of really good point guards in today's NBA. Who do you really like?
A: "I've always liked Deron Williams because has the same mentality as me. They don't play defense like we did. But [Williams] does do it on both ends of the floor and wants to. …I like him a lot. Another guy I like a lot and a lot of people think I dislike him is [Rajon] Rondo. He can't score like I did, but he does everything else like I did."

That's some high praise, especially from one of the great defensive point guards in the history of the game, comparing Williams' defensive mentality to that of Gary Payton's.

While Williams gets recognized plenty for his offensive presence, it's not often he gets the highest of praise for what he does on the defensive side of the ball.

Between the Jason Kidd hiring, the Boston trade, the Los Angeles workouts and now this from Gary Payton, is there anyone in the NBA having a better summer than Deron Williams?


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