Adreian Payne has been mentioned before on Lakeshowlife.com, found here. Yesterday against Delaware, he scored 41 points, nearly half of Michigan State’s 93 point total.
His offensive repertoire can be found on this video link:
He has been projected in the mid-to-late 1st round. Still, at 6’9″ with a 7″ wingspan at 240lbs., there are no question marks about his wingspan, lack of bulk, and solid athleticism. When watching the video, it’s easy to see comparisons to Channing Frye, Brian Cook, or even Ryan Anderson. Most would see his NCAA 3-point range from pick-and-pop situations and say that is his dominant skill.
Would you be surprised if his jumpshot came along in the last two seasons? It did. It’s a testament to his work ethic.
A nice player comparison to Adreian Payne is Rasheed Wallace, post prime. While both fell in love with the jumpshot, Payne still shows solid ability playing in the low block. He went to the block several times and converted effectively. From the high post, he can not only hit the midrange shot, but attack with an inside-pivot and a direct drive to the basket. Coach Mike D’Antoni would love a power forward or a center with this combination of perimeter skill sets. The triangle offense would have flourished that much more with a guy like Payne on the perimeter, but Shaq in the paint.
Terrence Jones showed a similar skill set last season, and he was my steal pick. Playing beside Dwight Howard, he’s able to create drive and dish situations, attack with authority, and set up the jumpshot. Jones is on a different level in terms of athleticism, but Payne is on a different level than Jones in terms of footwork in the paint.
Some would say that Payne has nearly maxed out his potential because he’s a senior. I disagree. He could improve his decision-making and become a much better passer out of the low post. He could gain strength in his lower base to hold and maintain better position in the paint. Still, the touch and skill set to create shots anywhere in the painted area are there. Improvement in those two areas could make him a solid NBA starter, effective in both transition and half-court sets. He runs the floor effectively despite some asthma issues. In just over 27 minutes per game, he averages a solid 7.4 rebounds and a swat a game. His position defense on the low block is underrated. He doesn’t bite on upfakes.
Overall, some would say he’s a reach if he’s drafted in the lottery. That may or may not be true. What is clear, is, the team that drafts him, gets a solid front-line contributor, ready to go. He’s a self-made player that plays physically in the paint. He’s a soldier that is willing to do whatever it takes to win. Really, who doesn’t love a guy with this kind of intensity?
Kobe Bryant and the Laker organization can appreciate that mentality and attitude. As much as the fans crave for an early lottery pick, we can’t forget that it’s the character of the players that create identity for the team as well.
Payne would be a great example of that.