The Warriors will regret letting Gary Payton II leave

I can hear it now.

The Warriors are playing the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2023 NBA Playoffs and Grizzlies guard Ja Morant is giving them fits.

“Man, what the Warriors wouldn’t give for a great perimeter defender right now,” some talking head will say.

And I will gladly point that talking head to the night of June 30, when the Warriors let Gary Payton II leave town and sign a reported three-year, $28 million contract with the Portland Trail Blazers.

The most important thing in the NBA today is shooting. The second most important thing is perimeter defense.

The Warriors have good perimeter defenders, with Andrew Wiggins standing out following his outstanding postseason. But Payton II was the best of them all.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 20: Golden State Warriors’ Gary Payton II (0) holds the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy during the Championship Parade on Market Street in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, June 20, 2022. The Warriors defeated the Boston Celtics to win their fourth NBA Championship in eight years. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 

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