By Addam Francisco
Oklahoma City drafted rookie Cameron Payne 14th in the 2015 draft lottery, with expectations that he would be an elite backup point guard in the NBA for Russell Westbrook. That hasn't been the case so far this year and that's unfortunate.
Why is it unfortunate?
It's good for a young player like Cameron (20) to gain that experience and confidence young in his career. When young players like Payne are drafted to NBA teams at his age or after a year or two in college, especially behind a superstar it's easy for them to get a bit discouraged when they don't receive the recognition they are used to receiving and often times deserve. A lot of young players have a sense of entitlement but in Cameron's case, he deserves a fair shot even on this talented Thunder team.
Whose time would he take?
Dion Waiters... Though he is a very talented guard that is beneficial to Oklahoma City's success, I think sometimes when he's in the game the offense doesn't flow as well as the offense flows when Cam is playing. If Dion plays approximately 28 minutes per game and Payne plays a little over 4 minutes per game, coach Donovan should take 10 minutes from Dion and give Cameron those minutes. That will put both between 14-18 minutes per game which will allow for a deeper arsenal later in the season and ultimately the playoffs.
We can't bring him into the regular rotation late in the season and expect him to perform... That's not fair to him or a reasonable expectation. That's where the Thunder go wrong sometimes, not developing young players enough in the way of experience. Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones and so far Mitch McGary have all fallen victim to the same thing. It appears like if they don't have all-star potential, they are overlooked. Not knowing that many of them have a lot of promise but need a little more development.
If Oklahoma City models their organization like the San Antonio Spurs do, they need to incorporate the young players in their game plan so that they virtually won't ever have to rebuild.