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Warriors’ Gary Payton II gets massive update for Game 1 of 2022 NBA Finals vs. Celtics

Warriors, Gary Payton II, Stephen Curry, Gary Payton II injury

It looks like Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II could get an opportunity in Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics. The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Anthony Slater say Payton is now “on track to dress and be available.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean Payton will play in Thursday’s Game 1, but just having him as an option is helpful for the Warriors. Slater notes there’s “optimism” for veterans Andre Iguodala and Otto Porter Jr. as well:

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Payton fractured his left elbow about a month ago early in the second-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Warriors guard was the victim of a hard foul by Dillon Brooks, which resulted in a one-game suspension.

Payton missed the last four games and change of that series and then the entire Western Conference Finals against the Dallas Mavericks. Before the injury, he had made his presence felt against the Denver Nuggets on both ends of the floor.

As Slater notes, the Warriors can turn to Payton to help slow down the likes of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in this series. Getting Iguodala back would also help in this regard, even if he’s not what he once was.

Golden State is getting healthy at just the right time, which is needed against this talented Celtics group. This should be a fascinating NBA Finals with plenty of chess moves coming our way. The Warriors improving their depth with better health only gives Steve Kerr more options to play with.