10 Things The Media Hasnt Told You About Cameron Payne
You will not believe these facts about Cameron Payne that the media hasn’t told you!!
Cameron Payne, a lot of people probably wouldn’t have even heard of him if you weren’t a die-hard fan of a few of the teams that he had been on throughout his NBA career. However, he has begun to make a name for himself as a member of the Phoenix Suns, a team that made the NBA Finals this past season due to his emergence as the sixth man. In today’s video, we are going to go over ten of the most interesting facts that we could find about the young point guard, so stick around until the end of the video to find out what the most mind-blowing fact about him is!
Number ten, he flipped his nickname ever since he entered the league. Many of you may not have heard of this story before today, but Cameron Payne was given the nickname Smooth when he was with the Oklahoma City Thunder in his rookie season. He claimed that he had no idea how his teammates came up with the idea or why it was sticking around, but he did mention that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook just randomly came out with it. Since that moment he bounced around to a few different teams before sticking with the Phoenix Suns this past season, being a critical part of their NBA Finals run. During that stretch, players were calling him The Campaign. If you couldn’t tell already, this name was likely created off of his full name, Cameron Payne. Now that he is starting to be heavily recognized around the league, hopefully we can see The Campaign stick around a lot more than we did with Smooth!
Number nine. He had a massive growth spurt. If you take a look around the NBA, you could find out that a lot of players have had tremendous growth spurts. Guys like CJ McCollum are one of the most obvious examples of that and can take a player from a below average bench player to a young star in a matter of moments. A similar situation happened for Cameron Payne; the young point guard was just five foot five when he entered high school. In just a few years, Payne was six feet tall and was taking large strides in his basketball development. Had it not been for this solid growth spurt, we may not have seen Payne in the league. Only a few players at the point guard position less than five foot eight are able to be drafted and stick around to a few teams. You may have heard of a few, Isaiah Thomas from the Boston Celtics and the great Muggsy Bogues, who was only like five foot four during his playing career.
Number eight, did you know that Cameron Payne’s brother was also a talented basketball player? When Cameron was growing up, his father, Tony Payne, coached a youth basketball team. His father was able to team both him and his brother, Tony Jr., the ropes of the game at a young age to help prepare them down the line. Tony Jr. didn’t make it into the NBA like Cameron did, well not yet at least, but he still played the point guard position at Lane College. Lane College is a division two school located in Jackson, Tennessee. If it weren’t for his fathers intelligence of the game and his mothers undying motivation to keep on pushing forward, both Cameron and Tony Jr. wouldn’t have been able to shape out into the strong player we know and love. Also, be sure to stick around until the end of the video because we talk about another reason why he is so loved around the NBA community, you won’t want to miss it!
Number seven. Cameron Payne was only considered a three-star recruit in college. This may not be that much of a surprise given how he bounced around to multiple NBA teams, but is still a shock when you look at how he was performing at the time of the rating. He was attending Lausanne Collegiate School and had led them to a 2013 Division two state title down in Tennessee. However, Rivals.com didn’t find the feat very impressive which is why he got slapped with the three-star label. To make matters even worse for him, Payne wasn’t even ranked in the top 100 prospects!! I mean c’mon, I know he wasn’t the best player in his class, but could you have at least given him some respect?
Number six, Cameron Payne was able to dominate the game during his time in college. Throughout his freshmen season in school, he averaged 16.8 points, 5.4 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game. He also fit right in straight away, his very first game against Valparaiso he ended with 21 points, five rebounds and four assists. This play continued for a while as he picked up the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year award. By the end of the season, his stats were 20.2 points, six assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game. There are not many people out there that were able to dominate the college scene like he was, though he was playing in a lesser-known school at Murray State unlike Zion Williamson did with Duke. Maybe that did play a factor, but then again it shouldn’t diminish his insane play during the course of his collegiate career.
Number five. Cameron Payne was drafted pretty highly. It seems like a lot of people believe he was an undrafted player but that couldn’t be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, Payne was selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the 14th overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft. That rookie deal got locked in on July 10th of that same year and he was set to play in the NBA alongside Durant and Westbrook. Though he didn’t last with the team very long actually. Just a few years into his Thunder stint, the team traded him over to the Chicago Bulls, where he spent a lot of time over in the D-League before finally getting a chance to shine in the league. He dropped a double double just a month after his season debut with the Bulls. It wasn’t the best rookie year that somebody could ask for, but he was still able to prove that he belonged in the league when he was given playing time which is what mattered most.
This next fact at number four explains exactly why he was traded from the Thunder in the first place. It was announced right before the NBA Draft began, as in earlier in the week, that Payne had a broken ring finger on is non shooting hand. Luckily, he didn’t require surgery on the injury which is why the Thunder felt like the risk was worth the reward in the long run. He ended up getting right back into it and dropped a career high 17 points later in the season. It was that next year that things got worse for him. He suffered yet another injury, this time a fracture of the fifth metatarsal, during a scrimmage game. He missed two full months of that season and was ultimately traded just a few weeks after he came back from that painful injury.
Number three. Cameron Payne found himself with no NBA home for quite some time. Despite the talent that he was able to display on the court when he was given minutes, nobody felt like picking him up in the 2019 season. Right before that he was on the Toronto Raptors, who kept him around for a while before eventually releasing him. He only played in one game for them and was on the court for a total of 12 minutes…it was a preseason game. Due to the little options, he had for his career and the fact he was randomly dropping out of the league despite being a late lottery pick had him confused. So, he chose to head over to China to play with the Shanxi Loongs for a while. He dominated in his time there, averaging 22.5 points, six rebounds, 7.5 assists and 4.5 steals per contest, yes you heard that correctly. For some reason though, the team replaced him when the season came to a close and he was once again without a roster spot anywhere. It was then that he linked up with the Texas Legends in the G-League. He picked up the NBA G-League Player of the Week award a month after his signing to the team, averaging 23.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 10.3 assists and 2.7 steals per game during that span. Fast forward yet another month and the Phoenix Suns were knocking on his door to hand him another NBA contract and it looks like this time it will finally stick!
Number two. Now, we have already gone over the fact that he was given the Ohio Valley award during his freshmen year of college. Here we will talk about how he was able to win a hell of a lot more awards the next couple of years at Murray State. For one, he was named to the first team All-Conference group as a freshman. Then at the end of his sophomore season he picked up a First Team All OVC honor on top of being the Conference Player of the Year. Fast forward one more season and he was able to play well enough to garner the OVC Male Athlete of the Year award, a very prestigious honor for any young and hopeful athlete of any sport. But guess what, he picked up one more award that was probably the most important. Voters got together to decide that Payne performed well enough in his final season at Murray State to win the Lute Olson Award. If you aren’t familiar with that award, it is an annual type of award that they give out every season to the most outstanding non freshman men’s college basketball player that resides in Division One. His head coach at the time, Steve Prohm, came out with very high praise of the young point guard after he was awarded so many honors. This is what he had to say regarding his award, “He’s a remarkable, remarkable point guard and I wouldn’t take any other point guard in the country over him.” It’s not often that you hear your head coach give you tremendous praise like that, but Payne proved to be an exception to that here.
Here we hit number one and boy is this the best fact of them all. If you happened to be on social media during the time that Russell Westbrook remained on the Oklahoma City Thunder, then chances are you saw Cameron Payne and just didn’t know it yet. There were tons of videos swirling around the internet of Westbrook breaking it down right in front of the scorers table alongside a teammate. That same teammate accompanied him before every single game and they routinely danced in front of the scorers table, mind you they have some pretty outstanding dance moves. That player turns out to be Cameron Payne, and when he was asked about how he felt he was known around the league, he simply responded that it was for his dancing. Probably the best part about their routine is that it wasn’t actually a routine. See, they didn’t get together and organize some type of crazy dance routine to do every single game. It was basically a habit for them to get together and dance, but they pretty much did whatever their heart desire right in that exact moment. Nothing was planned, they just wanted to go out there and get themselves pumped out before game time and who wouldn’t respect that?!
But unfortunately, that just about does it for this video on the best facts about Cameron Payne. If you enjoyed this video, be sure to leave a like and subscribe for more content. Also, remember to smash that bell icon so that you never miss another video because we have some great stuff planned for the future that you won’t want to miss out on!