NBA Playoffs 2021 Predictions and HOF Weekend Preview with Gary Payton

May 13, 2021

Join the BetUS Unfiltered Crew in today’s show as they talk about their NBA Playoffs 2021 Predictions and the controversy with the Play-In Tournament. Gary Payton talks about Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan prior to Hall of Fame Weekend. Plus, they’ll try to figure out what’s wrong with the Boston Celtics. And you don’t want to miss Gary Payton’s 2021 All-NBA Teams.

BetUS Unfiltered Episode 29:
0:00 NBA Play-In Tournament
21:05 Hall of Fame Weekend
32:38 All Things Celtics
34:46 All-NBA Teams

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Audio Podcast

PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

Dawn Lupul:
Welcome to Unfiltered: The NBA Playoff Preview brought to you by BetUS, America’s favorite sportsbook. Oh, you bet, you win. Gary Payton, your ass gets paid-

Gary Payton:
Paid!

Dawn Lupul:
… every time. Every time. Gary, I’m so excited to be doing this with you. Of course, you are our resident expert. We are going to get through the NBA playoffs, for the next few weeks, actually, we’re going to focus on this exclusively. We’re going to have some awesome guests coming up. So make sure you like and subscribe to the video. So you don’t miss any of the content. We’ve got some really cool stuff coming up, and sign up at BetUS today, you can get 125% sign up bonus with the promo code, video125. That’s all you need to know.

Dawn Lupul:
He’s Gary Payton. He is the only point guard to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year. So Gary, we’re going to talk a little bit of defense, how does that suit you?

Gary Payton:
Sounds good to me, Dawn. Let’s do it.

Dawn Lupul:
Let’s get right into this because we’ve got a lot to talk about coming up next week, don’t miss out too, because we’re going to have Craig Hodges, which I’m excited about. Oh, I know.

Gary Payton:
My shooter. My shooter.

Dawn Lupul:
The shooter, the three-point wizard, and long before Colin Kaepernick, there was Craig Hodges. So I’m looking forward to that. That’ll be really cool. So again, subscribe to the video, so you do not miss all of that content. Gary, the NBA play-ins. Let’s talk about that. Coming up on May the 18th to the 21st, it is the play-ins. Love it or hate it, what do you think?

Gary Payton:
You know what, Dawn, I can’t even say it about it right now, because you don’t know how it’s going to go. But if you were looking at it as a basketball player, you would say, this is not real cool, because the simple fact is if you make the seventh and the eighth slot, you’re in the playoffs. You’re going to be playing the number one or the number two seed, and you will be in a seven game series. Now, you’re telling me, now, to come and play against the ninth and the 10th place teams who are not supposed to be in playoffs, because they didn’t make it. And now, you’re playing for a one game spot, and then all of a sudden, if I’m the seventh, and I get beat by the 10th, I’m out of it.

Gary Payton:
And it doesn’t make sense to me. And when we’ve been playing like that for a whole career of, if you’re in a seventh, you in the playoffs, if you’re in the eighth, you’re in the playoffs, and a lot of these players are not going to get it, because you can just so happen, win that game. What if the the ninth and the eighth and 10th place team win that a game, they knock the teams out who are qualified during a whole year to play and get that slot, and they’re out of it. And I think this is what LeBron was trying to say when he said he didn’t like it, because really it’s not fair. And when it’s not fair like that, it’s just bad.

Gary Payton:
Because you can look at the Lakers now, they’re struggling. They’re trying to come back. They done fell to a play-in spot. Now think about, it all year they’ve been playing well, then they get hurt. Now you’ve done lost everything that you did in the beginning of the year to, now, and you can’t do that. You know what I’m saying? You been playing so well at the beginning, and all of a sudden you slide a little bit, and then the season over and you so happy to hold on. Now, you’re in the play-in. Now you got to play extra games. You got to do an extra game. Then you got to play a seven game series. And I just don’t know how it’s going to work. You know what I’m saying?

Gary Payton:
It’s not like college, when they play-in and they get a hope because their record was or schedule was weak, and then you put them in, in them slots to go and play against the top 18. I don’t think it’s the same. I think these teams in the NBA, they’ve been playing for 72 games. They’re playing for a spot. They’re playing for what they did. They were cruising or whatever, if they get that seventh spot, let them be in the playoffs and play that number two seed, and then go to a seven game. Don’t have a chance of getting beat, and then all of a sudden you’re out of the playoffs.

Dawn Lupul:
Yeah. It’s tough. I’ll tell you what, LeBron, I believe he said, “Whoever invented that should be fired.” But Gary, you know what, the fans love it, and if the Lakers happened to fall in the play-in, can you imagine a play-in, the Lakers against the Warriors, one game? I mean, that’s must see TV, you have to admit.

Gary Payton:
Well, you know that, Dawn it’s going to be good. Golden State is playing really good basketball, right now, at the end, and that’s what you don’t like. When a team that’s just been struggling all year, and then their superstar gets hot and doing what he’s doing, and next thing you know, you get into one game with him, just one game, and you got to play him and he’s on fire, and your team is not on fire. You’re not on tune right now. They’re not playing well. They worked so hard in the beginning of the year, and now they’re tailing in. It’s just like, it’s the opposite.

Gary Payton:
Golden State was trash at the beginning of the year. Now there’s somebody, you don’t want to see them. So that’s what Candace Parker was saying, on NBA TV, who wants to see a Golden State? Nobody wants to see them right now with what Curry is doing, and these players are playing with him and they just let him do the things that he’s doing while shooting, and the Lakers playing against them, and LeBron not at a 100%, that’ll just be tragic for the World Champions just to end their season like that. If they get beat in that game, if they go to that.

Dawn Lupul:
It would be. There’s a lot of different scenarios that could happen, but AD has been kind of picking up the load, so they won a crucial game against the Knicks, today’s Wednesday, so it was like yesterday.

Gary Payton:
Last night.

Dawn Lupul:
Yeah, that was clutch. They needed to win that, so that was big. LeBron supposed to be back on-

Gary Payton:
Tonight.

Dawn Lupul:
Tonight, and if not, then-

Gary Payton:
And they already said he’s going try play tonight, yeah.

Dawn Lupul:
… for sure tomorrow then, because AD’s now saying that he’s feeling not a 100%, so there’s a lot of intrigue happening. You mentioned Steph Curry, he is unconscious right now. He’s hitting threes from the parking lot, so that team has picked up the game. Gary, you know what I think might, actually, happen, is that the plan-in’s going to be the Trailblazers and the Warriors, because the Lakers actually have a chance to still get into sixth place. I kind of hope that that happens, because that would make more sense.

Gary Payton:
Well, you know what, Dawn, it makes sense, because of what they did in the beginning of the year. They were the number one seed and number two, they was sticking right around there, and then all of a sudden everything happened. AD goes down, AD be outs for almost three months, four months. Then all of a sudden, LeBron gets hurt. You always see something trickle down like that, and then all of a sudden, that team that you put together, they don’t have that leader and them other players are players that need help to be guided by a superstar, and they don’t have that. It’s on you now. Now you got to win games for us, like the Kuzmas, all of them guys are not like, the Harrells, they’re not like that. They are complimentary players. They are players that you give them a bone and they’ll reward you, and work hard, but I’m going to be the alpha dog who going to kill them.

Gary Payton:
And it hurts me to see that, that they worked so hard in the beginning of the year, and then all of a sudden it goes to that. And a team that’s been struggling all year, gets hot, and then all of a sudden they have a chance to go and play in a seven game series.

Dawn Lupul:
Yeah. There’s so much to be decided, every single game now is crucial. I mean, Portland doesn’t have it easy. They’ve got a tough schedule coming ahead. They’re playing against Utah, Phoenix, and Denver, so they’ve got some pretty tough games coming up. I don’t know, I think the Lakers still have a chance. So we’ll see, as it goes forward.

Dawn Lupul:
Looking at the overall, we still have, and still in the betting markets, and we’ll mention this, the Lakers are still plus 350. So they’re still actually the second favorite to win the NBA Championship, even though they may be facing a play-in. Brooklyn is the favorite, and then it’s the Lakers, and then it’s the Clippers, I believe. Utah’s first in the East, and they’re at 750. I know you liked the Lakers, but this is a little dangerous for them.

Gary Payton:
This is really dangerous for him, Dawn, because they’re not at full tilt. You know what I’m saying? They don’t have their two superstars like last year, when they were in the bubble, both of them guys are, not hurt, they’re right there, they’re not there at night. Like Last year, they were in that bubble and they sat there. You know what I’m saying? They didn’t have to go nowhere. They didn’t have to move nowhere. They were both healthy. And it’s just a different team too. You had a Rondo on that team, you had a Green on that team, who were players that were really, knowing how to get into the playoffs and play, and do play are basketball and know the experience. Now you got kids that, we don’t know. We really don’t know. Schroder is not at a 100%.

Gary Payton:
This team is at a low right now. We were talking to Jason Kidd, just recently, and Jay said, “If their big dog gets back, we’re good. But if we don’t, we’re going to struggle.” And that’s what happened. And that was the day at Portland, and they went into Portland, and got beat. You know what I’m saying? So I just don’t know about it. This is basketball. It’s sports, Dawn, it happens. And you got to suck it up. But I just don’t like seeing that, you know what I’m saying? I just don’t like seeing punishing a team because they’re doing so well at the beginning, and then you’re not doing well at the end. You struggle. Teams do struggle. And I just wish that if they were at the seventh slot, let them stay at the seventh slot, and then get prepared for the playoffs.

Gary Payton:
And then they’d see if their dogs can come back, and see what happens. When you have your big dogs come back and then see what happen, you got dates to prepare. Then you got a seven game series, where you can go one at a time, and take advantage of it. And anything can happen. But this is what they done did. They did it. And this is what’s going to happen. You know what I’m saying? We can’t change it. We’re going to see a play-in games. And then, we’re going to see what happens. We’re going to toss that coin up for that one game, and still be in there.

Dawn Lupul:
And we’ll be watching. I know I’ll be watching. How much of this goes back, you look at, in the bubble, back to last year. And LeBron, when they announced the schedule, after the Lakers won me a championship, he said it was too soon to come back. And it kind of looks that way in retrospect now, because both the Lakers and the Heat have struggled a little bit this year. And of course, they were in the finals last year. The Heat are kind of in a tough spot too, because they’re battling right now with the Hawks and the Knicks jockeying for position in there. So what if the Heat fall back, and then there’s a potential first round match up with either the 76ers or the Nets, who wants to face the Heat? They won the East last year.

Gary Payton:
Well, you know what, Dawn, and we look at it right now, the Heat are playing better basketball. They’re playing better basketball than what they were about a month ago. That is a scary situation, because now they done got their feet under them, a lot of their players have came back, and they’ve been in the same situation with both teams, the Lakers and the Heat. They’ve been hurt. Now you got your momentum back, especially, in the East. Look what happened to Boston, now. Brown is not going to be there anymore, so now that team that we thought that was going to be one of the big time are not happy. We haven’t been talking about Milwaukee. Milwaukee is now playing very good basketball-

Dawn Lupul:
They are.

Gary Payton:
… and people don’t understand this team can beat somebody. Yannis has not been talked about all year. Really. He has not been even thought about. And he’s now playing basketball. I watched him another night, and they dared him to shoot threes. And he made almost five and six of them. They just bagging up of them, Brooklyn, and Brooklyn was getting torched. And I see this, and Milwaukee went at their head and beat them. So I don’t know what it’s going to be like. This is an up and down, rollercoaster in this NBA right now.

Gary Payton:
I’m not going to give anybody the benefit of the doubt to win. I can’t do that. Miami can get on the road and they can win basketball games, because they have a coach who’s a pro. They have a leader in Butler and they got players. Miami can come back and play. So it’s scary to watch one of these teams get back. It’s the opposite over in the West. Miami is coming like this, the Lakers are going that way, let’s see what happens.

Dawn Lupul:
It’s must see TV. It’s like every game from now on. And I guess that’s what the NBA wanted when they did this whole play-in thing. And you’re right, the Bucks haven’t really garnered a whole lot of attention this year. And that could be a big mistake, because to count Yannis out is just, it’s not smart.

Gary Payton:
It’s just insane. Yeah, it’s insane, Dawn. And these guys can get into there, everybody is watching the ball, what they did in the playoffs for the last four or five years. Things can change. You know what I’m saying? When you’re not that top dog, Dawn, and Milwaukee has been there for the last three years, and then got a target on their back, now you don’t have a target on your back. Now you’re the underdog. You want to surprise people, so now people are not looking at you like that. They’re like, “Oh, well we can beat Milwaukee.” Then you come in there and you smack them. And that’s what it’s all about right now.

Gary Payton:
And I think Milwaukee likes this position now. They like this position. Not being the number one seat in a whole NBA and all that stuff. They want to be in this situation, where they go and knock a Brooklyn off. They want to be in that situation. And they’ve done very well against Brooklyn this year. They’ve done very well against them.

Dawn Lupul:
Yes. Yeah. It’s cool. I mean, you talked about momentum, and you mentioned the Warriors, obviously, with Steph going off, it’s huge. But what about Washington? And I want to touch on Russell Westbrook, right now, because this has a really cool link to you, also. Westbrook setting records this past a couple of days. He passed Oscar Robertson, which was 47 years this record stood,, Gary of a triple double record. He’s at, it was 182, and Russell’s actually got that now. But he also did something that’s close to your heart, joining the 20,000 point, 8000-

Gary Payton:
8000 assist.

Dawn Lupul:
… assist club, right?

Gary Payton:
8000 assists, yeah. There’s four of us.

Dawn Lupul:
There’s four of you.

Gary Payton:
Four.

Dawn Lupul:
There’s Oscar, LeBron.

Gary Payton:
Magic. LeBron… Oscar, LeBron-

Dawn Lupul:
I’m sorry, Magic. It was Magic or-

Gary Payton:
… me and Westbrook.

Dawn Lupul:
Yeah. LeBron, you, and now Russell, so, wow. I didn’t realize that club was so exclusive. You really need to be a two-way player to be able to get that kind of record.

Gary Payton:
Yeah. You know what, Dawn, that’s true. And that’s where you have to do a lot of work in a lot of things, and being that, that type of basketball player. That’s why, when I made the statement about LeBron being an all-around basketball player, as you see what he has done, you know what I’m saying? If you look at his rebounds and his assists and all of that, he plays that way. As you look at Oscar Robertson, he plays that way. When you seen me play, I played that way. You know what I’m saying? And then when you look at Westbrook, now, he plays that way. But we go in different eras. You doing different eras.

Gary Payton:
So when you seen Oscar 47 years ago, when he was the first person to average a triple double for a whole year, it was very difficult to do it at that time. Because the simple fact is, is that, big men didn’t want you to come down there as a guard and get the ball, because they were having bonuses in their contracts, that they got to get a certain amount of rebounds and stuff like that. And if you would go down there, they’ll bust your in your head, and say, “You just stay up there a little fellow, and I’m going to throw you the ball.”

Gary Payton:
Then we were talking about during the time where LeBron and myself is coming, assists we’re kind of hard, because when we throw the ball to you, they weren’t giving us assists, if the man dribbles the ball one time or two times, and then make a play, because he created a play his self. Now, it’s changed, because now a guy can throw the ball to him, and they can make two and three dribbles, and they’ll count it as an assist.

Gary Payton:
So as we see it, everything has changed. And now it changes in the eras. Oscar did it in his era, in the early, then I came in the ’90s, LeBron started, came and got with me a little bit, and then he did his thing, and then Westbrook came too. So it’s just a compliment to everyone who did it in their era. They did it in a different part of times and different rules. And that’s great, because you know it’s going to happen. Like I always say, every 10 years, there’s going to be a great one that comes along, and we have them all the time. And we have records the same way.

Gary Payton:
It’s just like when Harden was breaking all the Wilt’s scoring records, it happens. It’s just like what Curry is doing with all the three point shooting and all his shooting. It happens. And we just take these records and, and hope that you can keep them, but you’re not going to keep them, records are made to be broken.

Dawn Lupul:
Well, good for Russell. It’s cool to see. He’s almost single-handedly bringing Washington into the discussion. They’re currently, as of today, sitting in 10th, just a game behind Charlotte and Indiana. So that play-in in the Eastern conferences, it’s nail biting. It’s edge of your seat. And it’s fun to see a guy like Russell, because he’s so polarizing. He’s 32 years old. Everyone’s saying, “Ah, his games done. He was never that skilled. He’s just athletic. He’s too old. He’s got a fall off.” And now he’s doing what he’s doing, so good on him.

Gary Payton:
Well, you know what, Dawn, and I’ve been a fan of his for a long time. When I first came out there, nobody would think, we were making… Everybody was asking questions, do I think Russ WestBrook will break Oscar Robertson’s record? No, I didn’t think that way, because of the way it happened. The way that I played in my era, and how it was so hard. With Jason Kidd, Magic, all of them were trying to do it. It was very hard to do that, because you didn’t see guards going down there getting rebounds and getting things like that. You didn’t just see it. You didn’t see that. But then, it just came to my attention, when they reminded me that I said, “I don’t think he would break.”

Gary Payton:
Never thought his game was never to the point where he couldn’t do it. I just said it was going to be hard to do it, and I didn’t think it would happen, because of what Oscar Robertson did in his day. And now when they came back and reminded me, about four days ago, when I had an interview about it. I’m like, “This kid is amazing.” He’s just amazing of what he’s done and stayed that way. And all the negativity that has been out against him about, you can’t play with him. He’s not a winner. He’s not this, but this kid keeps continuing to play. And he keeps continuing to do work. I love him, because he’s a dog. He doesn’t care about nothing what people say, he goes out and get it done. And he backs it up. That’s the reason I love him the most, is because I back him up. Like I say to me, I tell everybody, I tell everybody, I just be honest.

Gary Payton:
I don’t think Curry is a point guard. I think he’s a shooting guard. I think Westbrook is the same. He converted him over from a shooting guard to a point guard, and he gets it done. I think he does more, because of his assists and rebounding, yes, he does. Now he’s showing that he can be that point guard. But he has adjusted to it just fine. And I congratulate him on what he’s done, because when you get converted, coming from UCLA as a shooting guard and never played a point guard, and come to the NBA and become a point guard, and then do the things you’ve done, you need to get saluted.

Dawn Lupul:
Yeah. I like to see how the coaches are able to work them into the system, and whatever you want to call them, it’s working. I mean, they’re scoring and they’re doing their thing. You mentioned dogs, you mentioned dogs, and, of course, it is Hall of Fame weekend. And I really want to get into that, because you’re going, you’re leaving tonight, heading over to Connecticut, to the Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort to honor 2020s class. That was supposed to happen last year, but, obviously, with COVID and the world situation, that didn’t happen. So it is now the time that Kobe Bryant will finally be inducted, as well as some very, very other noteworthy players and builders. Is it easier now or is it more difficult now that all this time has passed? I mean, this is tough to say, if it had been last year and you were there inducting, Kobe, would it have been… Is it easier now that some time has passed or just as tough?

Gary Payton:
It’s still tough because you got to understand, Dawn, he’s not going to be there. And they’re going to put a show on that they’re going to have footage, everything, there’s a lot of people going to be there. We’re going to put a lot of people up on that board in remembrance of things. And it’s still going to be emotional. I don’t care how long it’s going to take, this ceremony will never be the same, because the simple fact is, he’s not there. And I don’t care if it goes by two years, it’s still going to be emotional. You’re going to still have his family there. You’re going to have his other daughters that’s going to be there, and they’re going to be sitting there, and they’re going to be looking. And you’re going to be talking about a great man.

Gary Payton:
That we lost too soon. And it’s going to be emotional. And it’s got to be something that a lot of us going to be choked up about. It’s not going to change. If we would’ve had it last year, it just would’ve been fresh on our mind. As you go on, later on, it hurts more, because the simple fact is we got to go and do it now. We got to do it. We finally got to do it, and it’s going to happen. And it’s just things that I’ve been, basically, getting sent, me and Kobe with pictures are there. And when you see the one in the back, when I’m doing a layup, he’s right behind me, it’s just hard that you can’t see him anymore. You know what I’m saying? And think about the things he’s going to do.

Gary Payton:
All the Nike people are going to be there. I know it’s going to be a lot of people out in the streets. They’re going to have a lot of his memorabilia, a lot of good stuff. So everywhere we go, we know we’re going to see everything he does. Even when we get into the airport, it’s going to be millions of people there. They’re going to be wanting to have autographs with all these guys, and some of them are doing private planes, so people can’t get there, a lot of them. So it’s going to have to happen. It’s going to be in a couple of days. And we’re just going to have to take it on. A lot of people are presenting, a lot of these players.

Gary Payton:
Michael Jordan is presenting Kobe, and that’s going to be another one too, because when we was at the funeral, Jordan did a speech and spoke on it, and everybody was choked up then, and he was crying. And he said, “It’s going to be another meme on me.” We’re going to get another meme of him, because he’s not to be on that podium. And when he’s talking about him and he’s not there to say his speech, it’s just going to be a different story. It’s just going to be really, really different.

Dawn Lupul:
Vanessa will be… She said, she’ll be speaking. And, of course, Michael, as well. Tell me about move your puppies. And I want to just read a brief excerpt from Kobe’s book, the Mamba Mentality, “It was 2000 and I was having problems, getting over screens when guarding the ball. When the All-Star game came around and Gary Payton and I were warming up together, I pulled him aside. Gary, I said, ‘I’m having trouble getting through screens. What do I do?’ He was a great competitor, but he took time to walk me through his approach. He told me I had to make myself thin and I’ll never forget this, ‘move my puppies.’ He explained I had to slide, not run through the screen, and to do so, I had to make myself as small as I could, and move my feet as quickly as possible. Almost, he explained, like a sheet of paper going through a door. After the All-Star break, I worked on it constantly in practice. I just kept plugging away. Not coincidentally, that was the first year I made First Team, All-Defensive.” Gary, what do you remember from that time with Kobe and move your puppies?

Gary Payton:
That was a great moment, because, to me, when a guy at that caliber comes to another guy, who knows that they were very competitive with each other. And you ask, that’s telling me that you putting your ego aside, you’re putting a lot of things aside, and you’re trying to ask for help, because you admired who I am, because you see me making All-Defensive teams. You see me doing that. I had won Defensive Player of the Year, and I was making them a First Team, Defensive Player for nine straight years. And it was an honor for me to do it. I couldn’t just say no, because that’s not what it’s about. It’s about helping the other fellow person. I know it, I had to guard Kobe, but it would have been great for me to see it, and you see it now, as it’s in his book.

Gary Payton:
This just chokes me up every time I even hear about it, every time, because the simple fact is, is that he put it in a book and he remembered it. He remembered that thing that I told him and I did. I told him, I said, “You’re getting caught up on picks because of the simple factors that you trying to do your athletic ability. It’s not about that. You can’t chase and run people, and try to go through picks, because it’s not going to happen, because you’re going to get hurt. You’re going to hurt your shoulder. You’re going to hurt everything. You’re going to pop your shoulder out of place, because them big men are too big.” I said, “You’ve got to make yourself thin as possible.” I said, “Move your puppies, move them. Get through it. Put your leg through stuff. And then when the player comes through, they’re going to hit your body, and you’re going to be right there with them.”

Gary Payton:
And he was like, “Serious?” I say, “Yeah. Kobe, you have to.” I said, “When they trying to make that pick, move yourself up, make it thin, so it’ll make him where he has to stick his butt out or stick his arm in, and you’re going to get the foul called then. Then you’re going to get a call, because he’s trying to find you now. It’s easy to find you when you turning around and running and sprint, because he sees you coming. If you come and you not seeing nothing, and nobody’s calling to pick out, and even if your big man is calling the pick out, and saying, ‘Kobe to the right, to your right,’ and you move up and you get into the other player, and make it like you’re thin, it’s no way he can hit you. No way possible, because he’s going to hit his player too. And when he hits his player and you, you’re going to get the foul, because you’re going to get up a blocking call. Because he’s trying to move over to get his man open.”

Gary Payton:
And he understood that so well that what he did so good is that he took the advice and went to practice, and practicing in his scrimmages. And that’s why he became so good. And that’s why me and him, one of the few, that is on nine times, making the All-Defensive First Team.

Dawn Lupul:
He was a dog. And I always talk about the X factor. He was a dog. He brought the intensity each and every game, as did you, which keeping it at that level is tough. But there’s obviously, players that do, LeBron James is one, Michael Jordan is one. And I need to touch on Michael Jordan, because a lot of things have happened since probably the last time you saw him. Obviously, there was the scene from The Last Dance, where he was seeing laughing at his iPad, when he heard your comments about defending him. There was this like latest blow up about you saying, “LeBron James is a better all-around player. Not taking anything away from Michael, but just all-around.” Is it going to be awkward to see him this weekend?

Gary Payton:
No. I mean, Michael knows who I am. I’m going to speak my opinion. It is what it is. You know what I’m saying? I’m not going to be awkward about him. I’m not going to be scared to see him or nothing like that. I really don’t care. It’s my opinion. It’s just like his opinion with anything else. He would make an opinion about me. I wouldn’t care. That’s your opinion. You know what I’m saying? That’s what he made his opinion about the heckling or laughing about me guarding. That’s you opinion. I don’t care about that. You know what I’m saying? So I think me and him are a little bit more closer than that. And I think he understands what I say.

Gary Payton:
If he looks at his numbers and you look in LeBron numbers, LeBron has more assistant than he does. And LeBron has more rebounds than he does. So as we get in basketball and we get in sports, if you look at it, what does that mean? He was a better all-around basketball player and did more things than he did. Michael Jordan was a killer. Michael Jordan was a dog, who would beat you and punish you on special plays and make it be done. He’ll take a team on his back and do the same thing. LeBron can do the same thing, but we always criticize LeBron about, why didn’t you take that last shot? Why would you give it to another basketball player that, it’s you the superstar, you supposed to take that shot. But his mentality is thinking of that, I’m a team player. I have to have my teammates trust them. Michael Jordan didn’t do that. He said, I trust myself. I got to put this on my back, because I wanted to win.

Gary Payton:
They have two different mentality and everybody used to always say, “Oh, if that was Michael. He would have took the shot.” But LeBron ain’t like that.. And it is what it is. To me, he does things to get his players and teammates up. Michael didn’t have to do that. Michael have other players that can do that. You know what I’m saying? With Scottie, and then he had a BJ Armstrong, then he had players like that around him. He had Steve Kerr. He had John Paxton that would make shots and do things like that. That was different basketball teams. And then he had Phil Jackson over there. You know what I’m saying? You got to think about it. LeBron went through a lot of basketball coaches. Michael didn’t. Michael went about two through. I think he went through Collins, had he went through Phil.

Dawn Lupul:
Phil, yeah.

Gary Payton:
Then he went to Washington for a little bit of the time. He didn’t have to go through all that. And then he came… Nom he came back to Phil after he went on a hiatus for baseball. You know what I’m saying? So he didn’t have to go through all of that. So people don’t get what I was saying. They just get what I said, and then they start talking about, “Oh, you’re saying he’s a better basketball player than Michael Jordan.” Never came out of my mouth. Never said that. I don’t judge players. I don’t even rate players. I said all-around basketball player, I would pick LeBron James, because he does a lot more things and makes it a lot more happen.

Gary Payton:
Michael Jordan didn’t have to do that. He just have to be that killer he was. That’s why he won six championships, but he won six out of six. You look at LeBron, what’d he win? Five out of 10 or 11 or something like that, or whatever you win, so it’s the difference.

Dawn Lupul:
It’s the difference. I’m glad I got… because you say something and it’s a hot take, and then people assume you said it one way, but it wasn’t really that way. So just to touch on the Celtics really quickly, because we mentioned them earlier, Jaylen Brown out for the season with a torn ligament in his wrist. Can they recover from that? It’s going to be tough.

Gary Payton:
It’s going to be tough.

Dawn Lupul:
It’s going to be tough.

Gary Payton:
Especially, when a guy, who all year who has been giving you that 20 plus a game and him and Tatum was the one, two punch. Now what teams have to do now is focus in on Tatum, double him, get the ball out, make the other players beat you. You know what I’m saying? When you couldn’t do that, when you have Brown there, because what happened is, if you try to double Tatum, kick it to Brown, Brown will kill you. Too many people couldn’t guard him just one-on-one. Now, I think Kemba Walker has to step up.

Dawn Lupul:
Step up.

Gary Payton:
All of them players have to step up now. They got to step up. And I think Kemba’s going to have to be the one. I think he’s that superstar that makes all that money. And everybody has been saying he hasn’t had a good year, but he has to step up, but he can step up. He is a basketball player that has that ability to do that. And I think that he’s going to have to know that. I think the Brad Stevens is going to tell him that, “It’s up to you now, buddy.” You know what I’m saying? “You got to be our man.” When Tatum is over there doing his thing and they try to double him in the playoffs or whatever, and get the ball out of his hand, which a lot of these teams are going to try to do. And they’re going to have to say, “Kemba was going to be that guy on the other side, go get it. Go make it happen.”

Gary Payton:
And I think he’s going to be… I think he’ll be up for it for the challenge. And I think it’s going to be difficult, because you going to miss that. But we got to think about it too, Dawn, you still got Smart on there. A great basketball player that I think that still can get it done. He’s going to be a big part of it too. If he be healthy and he play, with his defense ability and how he has learned now to get his offense a little better, he’ll be fine too.

Dawn Lupul:
We’ll see how many dogs step up, because they’re there and it’s their chance to really do something. So let’s get onto a couple of those names that we mentioned, some All-NBA Teams and we’re going to look at some names here, guards, forwards and centers picks for first and second All-NBA Team. I know you don’t really like picking players, but this is kind of interesting because chemistry accounts for a lot of things too, so guards you got Steph Curry, Dame Lillard, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, James Harden, Bradley Beal, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons and Devin Booker. If you had to take two out of there, if I take two, I’m taking Steph and Russell, because Russell’s unconscious right now, and Steph can shoot the ball from anywhere. So those are two pretty good guards to me.

Gary Payton:
Well, I’m going to take Steph, for sure. I don’t know if I would take Russ. I would have to go with Dame or Chris Paul. I would have to go with one of them. You got to think about what has happened? Chris Paul has made a basketball team with Phoenix, who were playing very at the end of the bump, didn’t lose a game. But you have taken them to the number two seat in the NBA, in that Western conference right now, right now, and made a guy in Devin Booker a great basketball player. Now he was a mediocre basketball player, as people would think. Mediocre meaning, that he was scoring the basketball, but he wasn’t as great as he is now, because he knows the game now. He doesn’t have to handle the basketball. He doesn’t have to come up and do the dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble.

Gary Payton:
All he has to do is be him set itself down there on the baseline, runoff picks, and know when to back cut, and he knows he’s going to get the basketball because of Chris Paul. And that’s what it is. And if you look at Chris Paul, he steps up when he has to, sometime he has 14 points, 17 assists, 10 rebounds, five steals, and make big steals at crucial times, and do crucial things at crucial times. And you think about that. I think that’s a First Team, All-League players. When you look at Dame Lillard, you say the same thing. A team that we didn’t even think was going to be here when McMollumn was out so long, Dame put them on his back. Put them on his back and kept them in the playoff run, and kept them where they was.

Gary Payton:
Last year, you look at him, what did he do in a bubble? the surprise when they beat Memphis and took over that last spot. That was on Dame Lillard. Dame Lillard was the MVP of the bubble last year. I think he is in the same category. He might not win the MVP, but he’s right there too. So I have to look at it… But we can do Westbrook too. It’s just that what do you think, what the NBA judges you from? I think they judging you from you winning and how you have done with your numbers and brought them up to where they supposed to. Westbrook has been right there a long time, he’s been averaging a triple double, but his team is still right this-

Dawn Lupul:
Yeah, kind of just sitting there. I think we lost… Gary’s frozen for a moment now. He’ll come back, don’t worry. Yannis, we already talked about him and LeBron is tough. Well, Kawhi, that’s tough to take just two out of there for first team.

Gary Payton:
For the West, yeah. If you look at LeBron, you would have to go with him, again, because before he got hurt, he was having a heck of a season, heck of a year. You see it. Zion, you would have to put him there. You just have to, because of what the season he has had. A kid like that averaging 30, he’s averaging over 30 all the time, then he’s getting the rebounds, hard to stop. His percentage is almost at 70. I think it was, about like that, and you would have to go with them type of guys. I think them two would be my pick.

Dawn Lupul:
Okay. It’s tough. I mean, they’re all good. They all have their different strengths. For big men, the centers, Jokic and Embiid. You got to Gobert, Adebayo, Capela and Vucevic, too. But, I mean, Embiid’s an easy one, I think. No?

Gary Payton:
I can’t say that, Dawn.

Dawn Lupul:
Oh.

Gary Payton:
I think The Joker is a great basketball player. I think he’s a better all-around basketball player. He can pass the basketball. He can dribble it off the floor, and bring it up. He can do things. He shoots the three better than Embiid, to me. That would be a hard… I think that’s about a record too. I think that’s about records too. Who was the better basketball team? You know that’s what the NBA goes off of, your records. You know what I’m saying? If you better, and then they do the voting, Embiid has a better record. I think he gets the most votes. You know what I’m saying?

Gary Payton:
But as you look at it, they’re both right here. We don’t even know who’s going to win the MVP. Both of them are being something excite, Curry has now jumped into that category of MVP, because of what he’s done in the last two months. So I think it as a big man, it’s going to be kind of close with them too with The Joker and Embiid.

Dawn Lupul:
The Joker, okay. Yeah, and we only got one center, so that was fun. We’ve got, with the NBA playoffs heating up, obviously, the plan-in weekend is coming up May 18th to 21st. You’re going to be at the Hall of Fame this weekend, which I can’t wait to see the stuff that comes out of there. That’s exciting. Next week we’ve got Craig Hodges coming on, former player and NBA championship winner with the Bulls. So lots coming up here on Unfiltered. Show the gloves some love, give this a like, share it with your friends. Let everybody know where you need to come to get all the best insights in the basketball world, move your puppies, and hit that like button. What’d you think of that Gary? Did you like that?

Gary Payton:
You know it. And you know it, Dawn, this is what it is. The glove is always going to tell you the right thing, what’s going to be happening with my fit is right now, my fit is going to be this Hall of Fame ceremony. What fits like a glove? Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Rudy Tomjanovich, them are the people that’s going to fit like a glove, in the Hall of Fame ceremony. It’s going to be a pleasure for me to be there. And then, see these guys go up on his podium and accept being one of the greatest basketball players that ever played, ever. I don’t want to exclude, Dawn, Eddie Sutton who’s going to get in, I think, who else? Tamika Catchings is who’s going to get in, these people are worthy. Even the coach that just left Baylor-

Dawn Lupul:
Baylor, Kim Mulkey.

Gary Payton:
It was Mulkey. She’s [crosstalk 00:41:32]-

Dawn Lupul:
Yep. Barbara Stevens-

Gary Payton:
Barbara Stevens-

Dawn Lupul:
… and Patrick Baumann.

Gary Payton:
Yeah. Yeah. All of them fit like a glove, because once you go up in that thing and you put that coat on and you get them rings, and you be out there and you get in that podium and you got 10 minutes to say your speech, to say what you have done for the whole career, that makes want to solidify who you were and what you have done. And I want to give kudos all of that and I’m giving them the thumbs up.

Dawn Lupul:
Thumbs up.

Gary Payton:
You deserve it.

Dawn Lupul:
What a great class. And, of course, Gary Payton, class of 2013, our Hall of Famer here on Unfiltered. Gary, a pleasure, and I am looking forward to some exciting shows coming up. Enjoy the Hall of Fame this weekend. Unfiltered brought to you by BetUS, America’s favorite sportsbook, where you bet, you win-

Gary Payton:
Your ass get paid!

Dawn Lupul:
Your ass gets paid? We’ll see you next week.

Gary Payton:
See you next week, y’all.

Speaker 3:
Good job, y’all

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