The NBA G League announced today that Raptors 905 guard Gary Payton II has been named the 2020-21 NBA G League Defensive Player of the Year. He is the third player in franchise history to receive the award following Edy Tavares (2017) and Chris Boucher (2019).
Selected 15th overall in the 2021 NBA G League Draft by Raptors 905, Payton II led the NBA G League with 2.54 steals per game and was second overall with 33 total steals. He posted seven steals in a game twice, tying his regular-season career high and the Raptors 905 franchise record. His career 2.4 steals per game in the NBA G League places him second in league history, behind Briante Weber (2.74). Payton’s efforts helped guide the 905 to a G League best 12-3 record, earning the number one seed in the 2021 NBA G League Playoffs. The Oregon State product closed the season averaging 10.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 13 contests. Payton adds this award to his 2019 NBA G League All-Defensive First Team and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2015 and 2016.
The award was voted on by head coaches and general managers whose teams participated in the 2021 NBA G League season. Lakeland Magic guard Tahjere McCall and forward Mamadi Diakite finished in second and third place, respectively, in voting for the 2020-21 NBA G League Defensive Player of the Year Award.