Cam Payne continues to prove his value ahead of playoffs

Philadelphia 76ers guard Cameron Payne (22) drives between Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic (20) and forward Kevin Durant during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 20, 2024, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Fans were shocked when the Philadelphia 76ers sent guard Patrick Beverley to the Milwaukee Bucks at the trade deadline. The gutsy veteran guard, affectionately known as Pat Bev, had meant so much to the Sixers in his 47 games with the team.

Bev was an emotional leader, someone who the team and fans could rally behind when Joel Embiid went down. He was also a defensive leader who, by all accounts, was an important figure in the locker room. Mix in that the return consisted of a second round pick and Cameron Payne; fans saw this as a proverbial white flag on the season.

Flash forward to the present, and Joel Embiid has returned at an MVP level. The Sixers have won six straight and are a Pacers loss from capturing the sixth seed. Cam Payne has proved himself a valuable asset to the Sixers.

Cam Payne continues to thrive in Philly

Sixers payne
Philadelphia 76ers guard Cameron Payne, center, reacts after a 3-point basket by a teammate during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Sunday, March 24, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

In just 29 games with the Sixers, Payne has averaged 9.4 points and 3.2 assists per game in just 19.7 minutes per game. He has also provided another shooting option on the perimeter with his 38.3% three-point percentage from three.

Cam Payne may not be the flashiest trade acquisition the Sixers have ever had, but his value to this Sixers squad is vastly underappreciated. The Sixers currently have 4 guards who have played significant minutes in the playoffs with De’Anthony Melton’s return.

Payne ranks second among the Sixers’ guards with playoff experience, having played in 53 games during his nine years in the league, trailing only ex-NBA Champion Kyle Lowry. While the Sixers’ seeding isn’t ideal this season, they may really be able to make some noise come playoff time, partially thanks to the great veteran leadership the 76ers employ.