Photos from the Bulls-Pistons game on March 6, 2017, in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Billed as a pure point guard in the wake of his acquisition from the Thunder, Cameron Payne has attempted 37 shots in his first 76 minutes with the Bulls.
That included 14 shots in 23 minutes during Monday’s loss to the Pistons. Payne shot 5-for-14 overall with a career-high-tying four 3-pointers on nine attempts.
Overall, Payne is shooting 32.4 percent for the Bulls, including 38.1 percent from 3-point range.
"A lot of them were open shots. I just missed a majority of them," Payne said. "Some of them were bad shots. I have to get better with my shot selection and I have to knock them down."
Payne has played off the ball in several rotational turns, although he served as the first point guard off the bench on Monday since Rajon Rondo sat with an ankle injury. Payne has just nine assists with five turnovers in his first five games with the Bulls.
"I feel like I’m starting to get comfortable a little bit and get a little bit more confidence," Payne said. "It’s still fresh for me. I’m trying to get more practice running the plays and getting to know everybody on the team."
Management cited Payne as a young point guard they liked in the 2015 draft when they traded Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott to the Thunder for Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne and Anthony Morrow. Payne, 22, played sparingly last season behind Russell Westbrook and missed a portion of this season following a fracture in his foot.
"He’s so new in this league," coach Fred Hoiberg said. "I like some of the things he does. I think he has good instincts. He can play pick-and-roll. Just have to keep watching film with him and work with him and keep getting him better."
Hoiberg doesn’t criticize players publicly but showed his hand a little when asked about Payne’s shot selection.
"He took a couple shots that he maybe could’ve got one more bounce to the rim or kicked out for a shot," Hoiberg said. "This is really the first meaningful big minutes that he’s getting in this league. And it’s all valuable experience for him. And he’s not afraid of the moment. He’s going to give you everything he has."