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#pounditTuesday, February 20, 2024

Former lottery pick making NBA comeback with Pacers

The Indiana Pacers logo at center court

Apr 22, 2018; Indianapolis, IN, USA; A general view of center court before game four between the Indiana Pacers and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The man with the golden hair is back in the Association.

The Indiana Pacers announced on Friday that they have signed guard Elfrid Payton. Pacers beat writer Tony East notes that it is an Exhibit 10 deal for Payton (a one-year contract at the minimum salary).

Payton, the No. 10 overall pick during the 2014 draft, is an eight-season NBA veteran. He has career averages of 10.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game but went unsigned last season, playing instead in the G League and briefly for Osos de Manati of Puerto Rico.

At 29 years old, Payton is a known commodity — a non-shooter but a guy who can penetrate off the dribble, make the right read in the halfcourt, and hound opposing ball-handlers. While Payton faces an uphill battle to come anywhere close to Indiana’s active rotation, he now becomes the latest well-known reclamation project that the Pacers have taken on.

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