NEW YORK – Raptors 905 guard Gary Payton II has been named the 2020-21 NBA G League Defensive Player of the Year, the NBA G League announced today. He earned the honor in a vote by NBA G League head coaches and general managers whose teams participated in single-site play at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.
Payton II (6-3, 195, Oregon State) led the NBA G League in steals per game (2.54) and finished second in total steals (33) to go with 10.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 13 games. He recorded nine games with two or more steals.
On Feb. 13, Payton II matched his regular-season career high with seven steals and grabbed a season-high 11 defensive rebounds against NBA G League Ignite. He also had seven steals and added 10 points, six rebounds and six assists against the Greensboro Swarm on Feb. 26.
With Payton II helping to lead the way, Raptors 905 finished with the best record in the NBA G League (12-3) and earned the top seed in the 2021 NBA G League Playoffs. Raptors 905, the affiliate of the Toronto Raptors, selected him with the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NBA G League Draft.
Payton II also led the NBA G League in steals per game in the 2018-19 season (2.96), when he was named to the NBA G League All-Defensive Team while playing for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. His career steals average (2.40) is the second highest in NBA G League history, behind Briante Weber (2.74).
Payton II has played 61 career NBA games across four seasons. He is the son of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Gary Payton, the 1995-96 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
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.
All-Time NBA G League Defensive Players of the Year
2020-21: Gary Payton II (Raptors 905)
2019-20: Christ Koumadje (Delaware Blue Coats)
2018-19: Chris Boucher (Raptors 905)
2017-18: Landry Nnoko (Grand Rapids Drive)
2016-17: Edy Tavares (Raptors 905)
2015-16: DeAndre Liggins (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
2014-15: Aaron Craft (Santa Cruz Warriors)
2013-14: DeAndre Liggins (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
2012-13: Stefhon Hannah (Santa Cruz Warriors)
2011-12: Stefhon Hannah (Dakota Wizards)
2010-11: Chris Johnson (Dakota Wizards)
2009-10: Greg Stiemsma (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
2008-09: Brent Petway (Idaho Stampede)
2007-08: Stephane Lasme (Los Angeles D-Fenders) and Mouhamed Sene (Idaho Stampede)
2006-07: Renaldo Major (Dakota Wizards)
2005-06: Derrick Zimmerman (Austin Toros)
2004-05: Derrick Zimmerman (Columbus Riverdragons)
2003-04: Karim Shabazz (Charleston Lowgators)
2002-03: Mikki Moore (Roanoke Dazzle)
2001-02: Jeff Myers (Greenville Groove)
About the NBA G League
The NBA’s official minor league, the NBA G League prepares players, coaches, officials, trainers and front-office staff for the NBA while acting as the league’s research and development laboratory. Featuring 29 teams, 28 with direct affiliations to NBA franchises for 2020-21, the league offers elite professional basketball at an affordable price in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. A record 45 percent of all NBA players at the start of the 2020-21 season boasted NBA G League experience. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA Cares programs.