New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry admitted that the team is missing elfrid payton a whole lot after going down with an ankle injury.
As reported by Scott Kushner of The New Orleans Advocate, Gentry shared that with Payton in the lineup, not only do the rest of the guys play their natural position but they also have a guard capable of driving to the hoop as well as getting his teammates involved:
“We miss him a lot,” coach Alvin Gentry said of Payton. “What he does is, it would put Jrue (Holiday) back in his natural position, and it gives us a good player back on the floor who is a defender and made a lot of plays for us. He has the capability of getting to the basket and creating plays for people.
“So, yes. We miss him. We miss him a lot.”
To recall, Payton suffered a right-ankle injury on October 27 in their loss to the Utah Jazz. Prior to going down, Payton has been the team’s starting point guard. Through five games, he’s logged in 11.6 points per game, 6.4 assists, and 6 rebounds. Payton was a critical part of the Pelicans’ 4-0 start. Now, they’ve tumbled to a 4-6 record, making it clear that they lost critical pillar in Payton.
As for the timeline for Payton’s return, Gentry is looking at Saturday against the Phoenix Suns. He admitted, however, that the 24-year-old guard would still need to undergo some drills and check-ups before they clear him to play.