Cameron Payne is eager for Suns’ playoff push to begin

May 22, 2021, 3:07 PM | Updated: 10:28 pm
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns backup point guard Cameron Payne is excited for the opportunity to suit up in the playoffs for the third time in his career.

Payne stopped by Arizona Sports’ Doug and Wolf on Friday to discuss the Suns’ upcoming playoff series against the Lakers and the success the team has had this season.

“I got jacked up after I found out who we play and ever since then I’ve just been ready,” Payne told Doug and Wolf. “I’ve been waiting on Sunday. Not patiently but you know, kind of eager to play. I’m ready to get out there on the court.”

The 6-foot-1 guard joined the Suns in the bubble last season and has looked well in his reserve role for Phoenix.

In 68 career games for the Suns spanning across two seasons, Payne is averaging career-highs in points (8.7), assists (3.5) and rebounds (2.6).

The Suns guard was asked on Friday if he feels any pressure going into the first-round matchup against the Lakers.

“I think the pressure part is over for me,” Payne told Arizona Sports. “I feel like I had pressure coming back home playing for the Texas Legends. I feel like I had pressure first day at the bubble. I feel like I had pressure first day of the season. I had pressure going in trying to get the backup position.

“Now it’s just time to go out there, man, and leave it all out there on the floor. This is what I’ve been practicing for. Everything I’ve done has led me up to this point. And this is where I feel like all the work I finally get to show it, on the national stage every night.”

On top of his bench role for the Suns, Payne is also in charge of hyping up his teammates before each game and setting the tone in the locker room.

“Me and Jevon Carter it’s our job to get everybody up before the game,” Payne told Doug and Wolf. “It’s our job to get folks right before the game. So yeah, we hang around the players. Me and (Carter) play the music.”

The Suns guard says he likes to play music from the Migos, Young Thug and Gunna to get his teammates pumped up before hitting the court.

“I try to live with the most energy every day. So it’s all about just trying to get my teammates hyped and ready for the game the way I do,” Payne said.

This season, Payne has had the luxury to learn and sit behind guard Chris Paul, who has instilled plenty of knowledge to the 26-year-old throughout the course of the season.

“I love learning from (Paul),” Payne said. “He talks the whole game, the whole practice, when we are not in practice. And that’s just, you know, it just sets you up for in-game. His communications are at a high level.”

Payne went on to tell Doug and Wolf that it’s been a blessing to be around Paul and loves learning from the 11-time All-Star.

Head coach Monty Williams has also had a big part in Payne’s success this year.

“(Williams) knows how to get us going and that’s good. But the biggest thing is trust,” Payne said. “He goes out there, he got his plays. He knows what he wants to do but he listens to us as well. And that’s what makes him good. He’s so much a player’s coach.”

The Suns host the Lakers at Phoenix Suns Arena on Sunday for Game 1 of the first round of the NBA playoffs, tip-off is set for 12:30 p.m. on ABC.

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