Payton is widely regarded as the Warriors’ best backcourt defender, and per Charania, may even be ready for Game 1 of the Finals on Thursday. He suffered the injury in Game 2 of the West semifinals vs. the Grizzlies.
Golden State has advanced to its sixth Finals in eight years.
“While it remains to be seen whether or not Payton can be as effective as he was before breaking his elbow, he could help the Warriors out significantly on defense if he’s anywhere close to 100%, giving them another option to throw at players like Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Marcus Smart (if the Celtics advance) or Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, and Victor Oladipo (if the Heat make a comeback),” noted Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors.
Warriors guard Gary Payton II (elbow fracture) is expected to return in the NBA Finals, sources say. Here's how soon: pic.twitter.com/6TaaQri0Wc
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 27, 2022