If you’re an Oregon State Beavers fan, you’ve had a long history of stank basketball. Except for the 2020-21 Elite Eight run, you likely spent your time at 2 Towns Ciderhouse rather than Gill Coliseum. But the Beaver faithful do have something to be proud of during the NBA Playoffs. And he resides in San Francisco. Here are three reasons why OSU fans should cheer for the Golden State Warriors and Gary Payton II, even after his injury.
Outside of Corvallis, people may think of Payton II as a spoiled rich kid whose dad paved his route to the league.
Do your research.
Since 2016, he has had 11 different stints in the NBA G League on more teams than Basketball-Reference can provide.
His most recent spell was in 2020-21 with the “Raptors 905.”
He’s played on more G League than NBA teams during his tenure in the association; he truly grinded his way to the top.
For him to start Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals wasn’t just a win for Beaver nation; it was a win for dreamers everywhere.
And even though his stat line did prove underwhelming, ultimately, his team won the game, which is all that matters in the postseason.
Oh yeah, he also did this…
While many national media outlets may view the Dillon Brooks foul on Payton II as Grizzlies on Warrior crime.
It was really a case of a disgruntled Duck attacking a Beaver.
The duo of Oregonian hoopers played against each other four times in college, with Brooks quackers taking three of the victories.
And even though his UO squad proved the better team, feelings may have been harbored, particularly considering the brand of basketball Payton II likes to play.
That doesn’t mean that Brooks intentionally fouled GP2, but it’s something to consider.
From a logical standpoint, why else would DB make a negligent foul in an 8-0 game. He’s more important to his team than GP2.
Brooks is the second-best player on the Memphis Grizzlies. While Payton II has had 11 different stints in the G League on more teams than Basketball-Reference can provide.
The Portland Trail Blazers may not be in the second round, but Oregon is.
Empathize Not Memorialize
Did watching GP2 fracture his elbow upset you? You need to “Woosa,” it’ll be ok.
Even though his injury felt unjust, he should only be out for 3-5 weeks.
And he’ll likely prove a rotational piece when he comes back, whether it be the NBA Finals or next season. His story is still largely unwritten, so there’s no need to bust out the tiny violins.
But this does hurt Beaver nation.
He was the only current OSU alum playing in the NBA, and his family’s name is synonymous with Beaver basketball.
Long are the days of Brent Barry, Ricky Berry, and Mel Counts. Young Payton is alone.
But sometimes one is enough, and maybe he’ll continue to beat the odds like he’s done throughout his career. He could realistically be back for this season’s NBA Finals.
However, for that to happen, the Warriors need to continue winning games.
Do you understand why you need to root for Golden State now?