With the news that Gary Payton has likely played his last NBA game, it's career-assessment time. As in, where does GP rank among the all-time great point guards?
I would argue that he belongs a lot higher than most people think.
Last season, several of us at ESPN.com ranked our top 10 all-time point guards. I had Payton fourth, which I felt was completely reasonable based on his career accomplishments, but I was the exception; five of our 12 experts left him out of the top 10 entirely, and only one other person had him higher than eighth.
What shocked me even more was that Payton finished behind his Bay Area contemporary, Jason Kidd, in the voting. Only two other people listed Payton ahead of Kidd on their ballot.
So what gives? Why the difference in perception about Payton's place in history? Let me explore a couple reasons: