Scouting Profile: Adreian Payne
With the draft fast approaching, we will be taking a look at potential draft prospects with writers who have covered the prospects in college or -- in the case of international prospects -- spent a great deal of time scouting them. Today we’ll look at Adreian Payne (F - Michigan State) with some help from Jameson Draper (@jamdraper) who covers the Spartans for SB Nation’s theonlycolors.com and isportsweb.com.
What are Payne’s strengths? Weaknesses?
His biggest strength is probably how well-rounded he is. He can basically do everything on a basketball court except dribble. He can pass, shoot, block, rebound, steal, etc. and he's great at all those. His weakness is probably his tendency to make mental mistakes— he makes a lot of boneheaded plays. Another thing that's not necessarily a weakness but a disadvantage is his height. He's pretty short for an NBA big, but his athleticism probably makes up for it.
How do you think his game translates to the NBA?
Possibly really, really well. He seems to me like he could be a mature version of JaVale McGee with a good three ball, which is a really, really good thing. He's going to be as athletic if not more athletic than the best players out on the court and he's getting smarter and learning the game better with each passing day. He could also struggle, though, as his game isn't very specialized and he still has a ton to learn about the game.
What style of play do you think he'd be most comfortable in?
Payne, for physical reasons, would thrive in a slower offense. He has an abnormally small lung capacity, so his stamina isn't the best. He can log a lot of minutes, though, if he's in slower moving offense.
What NBA player would you compare him to?
I already said a matured JaVale McGee with a three ball. Which, if you think about it, would be really, really good.
What do you see as his NBA ceiling (All-Star/Starter/Spot-Starter/Rotation Player)?
Payne could be an All-Star. I have no doubt that with his skill set he could be. He has all the tools to be great, he just needs to put them to use.
What was his most memorable performance at Michigan State this season?
Most people would say that it was his 41-point blowout against Delaware in the first round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, but in my opinion, Payne's most memorable MSU moment was when he went from the lowest point of his MSU career to (at that point) the highest point in one day. On the morning before a game vs. Penn State in January 2013, Payne had been struggling, and in the heat of the moment, got in a fight with teammate Branden Dawson. Predictably, Coach Tom Izzo was mad, and he suspended Payne for the first half of the game. When he returned for the second half, he promptly scored 20 points, a career high, and MSU squeaked out a victory. That moment sticks with me because that's when I realized how amazing Adreian Payne's abilities really were.