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2014 NBA Draft - Adreian Payne blends shooting and athleticism in a 6'10" package

Michigan State's inside-outside threat looks to be the second Spartan to go in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft.

Stephen Dunn

Adreian Payne was not always the three-point shooting, slam dunking destroyer of worlds he is today. Even though he was a five-star recruit, his talent didn't always match his output on the floor for his first two seasons. His junior season, though, was a tipping point. Not only was he comfortable at the free throw line (84.8% from the charity stripe), he added a three-point shot to his repertoire, going 16-42.

His senior year was when he became a true inside-outside threat. Although his offensive rebounding suffered a bit due to spending more time on the perimeter, Payne became one of the Spartans' best outside threats, making 42.3% of his threes. Combine that outside shooting with a 6'10", 240 lb. frame, and you've got a player who should be able to make it as a scorer in the NBA.


  • Scoring: As mentioned before, Payne can absolutely shoot the ball; I have rarely seen a jumper so pure on a man Payne's size. He has a few post moves that he can utilize to get his shot off in the lane, and when fouled he can make his free throws at an 80% clip.
  • Athleticism: I could tell you with words about Payne's explosiveness. Or I could just show you this:
  • Defensive Rebounding: Payne grabbed 22.9% of the opponent's misses, and while that's not in the echelon of players like Noah Vonleh (27.3%) in this draft, it still shows that Payne can contribute on the defensive end at the next level.


  • Lungs: Seriously - Payne was diagnosed with having much smaller lungs for a man his size, and the transition from playing 40 to 48 minutes a night and 35-40 to 82 games plus playoffs in a season may spell trouble for his stamina.
  • Settling for the outside shot: There were a few games this season where Payne didn't try and use his superior athleticism to force the ball inside, and settled for contested jumpers. This may be less of an issue in the NBA (longer three-point distance = more space inside), but he has to take advantage of the space afforded to him.
  • Age: At 23, Payne is the oldest player projected to be a possible lottery pick. While not a disadvantage in and of itself, he may slide a bit further down the board due to teams wanting to pick up a younger player that they view as having more potential.
In conclusion, Payne has a blend of athleticism, shooting and size few have in this draft, and he's projected to go as early as in the late lottery picks (13-14). I doubt he slides far - I haven't seen him picked below 23 in the mocks I've looked at, and all signs point to him being the second Spartan off the board in the first round behind Gary Harris.