The Milwaukee Bucks freed up a roster spot following their blockbuster addition of Damian Lillard, and it seemed inevitable that it would go to a backup point guard.
Indeed, in the days that followed, the Bucks picked up Cameron Payne on a one-year deal worth a tick under $3 million. That’s a great deal for Milwaukee, especially when considering what he may bring to the table in 2023-24.
Predicting Cameron Payne’s 2023-24 stats with the Milwaukee Bucks
Prediction: 9.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.2 blocks, 43.2 percent field goal shooting, 37.3 percent 3-point shooting, 84.9 percent free throw shooting in 20.4 minutes per game.
As Milwaukee’s main backup point guard, Payne will likely earn some solid time on the court when Damian Lillard is catching his breath. When he’s playing, Payne will be tasked with providing more scoring, facilitating, and perimeter shooting. He’s capable of doing all of that, having shown he’s a capable backup over the past four years with the Phoenix Suns.
Looking specifically at these stat predictions, something particular to keep an eye on will be what kind of efficiency Payne tallies from deep. He’s been incredibly hot and cold throughout his career, but it would benefit the Bucks mightily if he can find his stride. The sheer number of open looks he will get on the perimeter should help him out, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
The guard’s scoring ability off of the bench will help. Though he will be playing alongside a group of other quality scorers in some combination of Bobby Portis, Pat Connaughton, MarJon Beauchamp, and Malik Beasley, Payne will still get his touches. If he can knock down his jumpers while going at the hoop occasionally, he could beef up the Milwaukee Bucks’ second unit scoring.
The biggest question mark is his defense. Payne has never been known for his play on that side of the ball, but it seems like Milwaukee will really be putting pressure on players defensively this year. Coach Griffin has already seemingly issued a challenge to Malik Beasley, saying that he will be taking on tougher matchups defensively on a nightly basis. Payne must step it up on that end.
Ultimately, Payne should be an excellent piece off of the bench this coming season. The team may have gotten Payne, who was arguably the best remaining NBA free agent at the time, on a steal of a contract. Only time will tell, but at this moment, it would be pretty hard to hate the signing.
Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis.