Adreian Payne has been covered quite a few times on LakeShowLife. Early in the NCAA Tournament, he scored his NCAA career-high, 41 points. Prior to that, he was considered a safe pick; a senior, well-skilled, great size, and athletic.
The combine solidified the results of his past two seasons. Draftexpress did an excellent job tracking his career. His measurements came out to a full 6’9″ without shoes, with a 7’4″ wingspan, at 239 lbs. with 7.5% body fat. His measurements compare quite favorably to Noah Vonleh, or at the NBA level, rookie year Dwight Howard. Dwight had an extra half-inch of wingspan with 2.5″ more standing reach. They are different players athletically, but they are also different players in terms of skill level.
In the Draftexpress interview, he admitted to playing with mononucleosis for the entire year. His conditioning has been a question mark throughout his NCAA career, but his work ethic has turned into a legit NBA prospect. During his four-year tenure, he has gained over 25lbs., gained wingspan, and added perimeter range. He shoots at a guard-like 42.3% behind the NCAA arc. Payne transformed himself to an athletic center who often played above them rim, similar to an early Elden Campbell. Now, he’s a power forward that resembles a skill-set that may remind some people of LaMarcus Aldridge. There is a post game that he relies upon, but he’s more comfortable attacking off-the-dribble or pulling up for the jumpshot. This makes him a multi-faced power forward; one that’s well adapted to the modern NBA, where spacing is of utmost importance.
Athletic results have not been released just yet, but his level of play and activity is above average, even for an NBA player. He has a solid first step, good foot-speed, and is able to play above the rim. More importantly, he’s not afraid to put his body on the line to make a winning play. If there are issues to note in regards to NBA play, it would be his conditioning and low post base. Post base strength is difficult to add, but gets better with time. LaMarcus Aldridge used to struggle with it. So did Andrew Bynum. At their peak levels of play, they were able to establish the positions they wanted on the floor.
While Payne may be projected out of the lottery, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Lakers optioned to trade down for more picks. If that is the case, don’t be surprised if Payne is picked up. He has an NBA ready body, ready to contribute serious minutes, while being productive on both ends of the floor.