NBA legend Gary Payton visits Wolves to help mentor guards


An NBA legend is in the Twin Cities to work with and help mentor some of the young Timberwolves.

Gary Payton, a standout guard who spent the majority of his career with the Seattle Supersonics (1990-2003), showed up at Timberwolves practice to work with the Wolves guards – especially Zach LaVine.

Payton is a friend of Timberwolves General Manager Milt Newton, and Newton decided to invite Payton to practice for a few days to work with LaVine.

"I've known GP for about a year, since the All-Star break last year," LaVine said. "He's always been one of my idols. I'm from Seattle, he played in Seattle, so growing up I watched him, and I didn't even know he knew Milt. I told Milt he's one of my biggest idols, so he's been coming here the last couple of days and he's been talking to me and it's been cool."

As a player, Payton was known for his defensive tenacity and even a little bit of trash-talking.

"I appreciate the mentorship," LaVine said. I've learned a lot of stuff so far. I'm not sure if I want to tell you all the secrets though. I feel like you can pick stuff up fast. Just talking with somebody, you don't have to spend a lot of time with them. Not physical attributed but mental things are the biggest things that I look for."

The Timberwolves will get to see if Payton's words will impact LaVine right away. Minnesota hosts Portland on Saturday night and the Trail Blazers guards are known for putting up the points.

Portland's starting backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum scored 52 points in the previous meeting between the teams this year and average 44 points per game on the season.

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