Adreian Payne: Draft Profile/NBA Breakdown
NBA Position: Power Forward (4)
College: Michigan State
Hometown: Dayton, Ohio
High School: Jefferson Township
Michigan State senior Adreian Payne thought about leaving East Lansing last season, but ultimately decided to return despite teammate Derrick Nix's feelings about his talents - "Payne is 6-10, can do everything that (Cody) Zeller can do. He's not on the draft board, Zeller is in the top 5." Well, Zeller did end up in the top 5 - going #4 to the Charlotte Bobcats. While Payne has no chance of going in the Top 5 this year, he has certainly improved his draft stock from a likely second round selection last year to a possible lottery selection depending on how the pre-draft workouts go. It didn't hurt that he dropped a career high 41 points in the first game of the NCAA Tournament this year.
Strengths: Payne is likely the best stretch 4 in the draft which is saying a lot given the strength of this draft class. He is the all-time leader in blocked shots at Michigan State and averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game this year. His field goal percentage was slightly above 50% and he shot a solid 42.3% from the three point line. Payne is big enough and thick enough to handle the rigors of playing down low in the NBA and is also fully capable of stepping out and knocking down a long jump shot. Payne is also extremely well coached, which is the case for any player coming out of Michigan State with Tom Izzo at the helm and Izzo has certainly done a tremendous job of preparing him for the next level throughout his career.
Weaknesses: Although Payne certainly matured more in his senior year, there still have to be questions about his overall maturity given his incidents through college - in particular his hotel room fight with Branden Dawson last year the night before a game at Penn State in which the police had to be called. There were a couple other minor incidents last year including one with Derrick Nix in a huddle near the end of the season. Another question mark is the overall athleticism of Payne. He is not a freak athlete and likely doesn't have a high ceiling when it comes to the NBA like many others in the draft will have (especially all the one and done freshman).
Overall: Payne has a chance to have a very solid NBA career. Will he ever be a consistent starter in the league? Probably not, but he clearly has the capability to be a reserve in the NBA for a very long time and there is nothing wrong with that. It's likely he will be drafted somewhere between #13 and #26 which means he should end up on a decent team as well and that can only help him in the long run.
NBA Comparison: Best case: Robert Horry. Worst case: Michael Beasley