Elfrid Payton Jr. (born February 22, 1994) is an American professional basketball player for the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where in 2014 he won the Lefty Driesell Award as national college defensive player of the year. He is the son of former Canadian Football League player Elfrid Payton. He was drafted with the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, but was then traded to the Magic.
Payton was an unheralded recruit from John Ehret High School in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. The 6'2.5" point guard chose to attend Louisiana–Lafayette, and after a promising freshman season in 2011–12, Payton came into his own as a sophomore in 2012–13. He averaged 15.9 points, 5.5 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game and was named first team All-Sun Belt Conference.
After his breakout sophomore season, Payton was a late addition to Team USA's U19 World Championships Trials Roster to compete in the 2013 FIBA Under-19 World Championship. After making the team, Payton started in all nine games for Team USA, on a team loaded with talent including other players such as Marcus Smart, Aaron Gordon, Jahlil Okafor and Jarnell Stokes. The team ultimately defeated the Serbian team led by Vasilije Micić and won the gold medal, going 9–0 in the tournament.
As a junior in 2013–14, Payton emerged as one of the top defensive players in college basketball. He raised his averages to 19.2 points, 5.9 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game and led the Ragin' Cajuns to the 2014 NCAA Tournament. He was again named first team All-Sun Belt and was the conference Defensive Player of the Year. At the end of the season, he earned national defensive player of the year by winning the Lefty Driesell Award.
In April 2014, Payton declared for the NBA draft, forgoing his final year of college eligibility.
Orlando Magic (2014–present)
On June 26, 2014, Payton was selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. He was traded to the Orlando Magic on draft night for Dario Šarić, a future first-round pick, and a future second-round pick. On July 2, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Magic. On January 16, 2015, Payton had a season-best game with 22 points and 12 assists in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. He was subsequently named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for January and was named a Rising Stars Challenge participant. On March 18, he recorded his first career triple-double with 15 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in a loss to the Dallas Mavericks. With a second straight triple-double recorded by Payton on March 20, he became the first Magic player to post consecutive triple-doubles and the first NBA rookie to do it since Antoine Walker, with the Boston Celtics in 1997. Payton's 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists helped the Magic claim a 111–104 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
On November 18, 2015, Payton scored a then career-high 24 points in a 104–101 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Payton appeared in 116 straight games to begin his career before a left ankle injury forced him to sit out four games in early January 2016. He returned to action on January 14 in London to face the Toronto Raptors, coming off the bench for the first time in 2015–16 and recording four points and four rebounds in a 106–103 overtime loss. On March 23, 2016, he recorded his third career triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 118–102 loss to the Detroit Pistons.
On December 6, 2016, Payton scored 22 of his career-high 25 points in the first half of the Magic's 124–116 win over the Washington Wizards. He bested that mark on December 13, 2016, recording career highs with 26 points and 14 assists in a 131–120 win over the Atlanta Hawks. On January 14, 2017, he had a career-high 28 points and added nine rebounds and nine assists in a 114–107 loss to the Utah Jazz. On March 6, 2017, he had his first triple-double of the season with 16 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds in a 113–105 loss to the New York Knicks. Two days later, he had his second straight triple-double with 22 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists in a 98–91 win over the Chicago Bulls. On March 13, 2017, in a 120–115 loss to the Sacramento Kings, Payton had 13 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds for his third triple-double of the season. On March 24, he continued his impressive run with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 115–87 win over the Detroit Pistons. It was his fourth triple-double in 10 games and seventh of his career. Seven days later, he recorded a career-high 15 assists to go with 12 points and nine rebounds in a 117–116 loss to the Boston Celtics. On April 1, he had 20 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds for his fifth triple-double of the season in the Magic's 121–111 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
Payton missed eight games early on the season 2017–18 season because of a left hamstring injury. An important piece in the Magic's offense, he had 11 points and 11 assists in 29 minutes in his return on November 8, helping the team end a two-game losing streak with a 112–99 win over the New York Knicks. On November 22, he had a season-high 13 assists in a 124–118 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
National team career
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|