Draft Profiles: Adreian Payne, 6’10, PF, Michigan State, 240 lbs., Senior

Draft Profiles:  Adreian Payne, 6’10, PF, Michigan State, 240 lbs., Senior

Athletic Ability

Athletically, Payne is one of the better prospects in the draft, especially at the Power Forward position.  He is not a freak athlete like a Lebron James, Paul George, or Andrew Wiggins type, but a very good athlete in the mode of a Taj Gibson.  In fact, his game is very similar in numerous ways to Taj.  Payne offers great lateral quickness to  switch and defend the ball-handler in short bursts.

Size
At 6’10 and 240 lbs., Payne might be a little slight in build, but is wiry strong and presents great height with a good wing-span.   Payne might occasionally struggle with post players with some girth, but can deflect numerous shots at the same time.

Basketball IQ

Payne shows some inconsistency with basketball IQ.  He has a tendency to rush shots and needs to improve his understanding of the game defensively.  That said, he's improved tremendously in decision making over his career.  I think he shows the potential to be a solid decision maker with the right coach and right structure.

Skill

Skill-wise, Payne is dynamic player on both ends of the court.  Defensively, Payne can switch on ball-handlers and cover a lot of ground in general.  Offensively, Payne is a very good shooter from all over the court.

He can defend multiple positions;  power forward, small forward on occasion, and in today’s NBA game, many of the centers.  Payne’s greatest asset defensively is his ability to switch on ball screens and occasionally guard the opposing ball-handler.   Payne will fit in well with the Bulls style of defense giving Tom Thibodeau another dynamic, athletic player who can switch and play active defense.

Offensively, Payne improved immensely throughout his time at Michigan State.  As a Power Forward, he shot 42% from three at 3.4 attempts a game.  While his greatest strength is perimeter shooting, he can pump-fake into a one or two dribble pull-up jumper as well.  While not a consistent post-player, he can post up and shoot a right-jump hook.   Lastly, he's very athletic and does well running the floor.

While Payne shows many great strengths, he's not without weaknesses.  Despite his athleticism and large wing-span, he only averaged seven rebounds and a block in 28 minutes.  Low rebound rate is one of the key negative indicators of a player jumping from college to the pro level.  While Payne shows some solid offensive skills, he is not dominant at any one particular skill and isn't a creator.

Overall

I see Payne as a very good player at the next level if he can pick up schemes quickly.  At age 23 and with small lungs, Payne is limited in terms of being able to play more than 30 minutes a game.  Combine this with a role player oriented offensive game, and he'll most likely be a late teens to mid 20’s type pick.  However, I feel Payne is one of those players that will have a very long, solid career.   Something like a 12 point, nine rebound guy for a decade or so.

How does he fit with the Bulls?

While the Bulls have Taj Gibson, I’m very intrigued by adding Adreian Payne to this team.  I feel that if Mirotic is not coming this year, Payne can instantly come in and play some backup power forward minutes and learn for the future with the potential to make Taj expendable down the road if he pans out.  I like Payne at pick 19 as much as any other big guy in this system.

My impressions

Payne is going to be a tremendous addition to any team in my opinion.  I feel like his game is a better shooting Taj without as much of a low-post game or shot-blocking.  Going through a tough childhood with many deaths, taking on the role of being a role model for Lacey Holsworth, and growing as a player and person through his time, I’m a fan of how he will succeed at the next level.

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    If he's a dynamic player on both ends of the floor, I don't see him lasting to #16, and definitely not @ #19. He's a better athlete than Taj. You won't see Taj in any dunk contest, plus he has shooting range, something that took Taj several years to develop as a pro.
    I wonder about his small lung size, and how this will effect his play, but if his lungs are healthy he should be able to play enough mins in a basketball game as a starter or off the bench. B-ball is not soccer or a marathon race. He was my initial choice for the Bulls back in early March, but as more teams ahead of the Bulls realize his pro potential I can see a team like Detroit, or Cleveland nabbing him before the Bulls choose.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    I'd imagine it kind of depends. People may not view him as a particularly high upside guy. He's already 23 and probably limited to role player offensive status.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    NBA always drafts talent and Payne is 23 with smaller lungs (meaning he can't just play the whole game - I probably should have included I worry if he ends up being as good as Taj and playing for Thibs and his rotations if Thibs will literally hurt the guy from playing him too much). The thing is normally I would agree with you and it is possible he is picked before pick 16, but this draft is extremely loaded with good players. Teams usually draft on younger and more talented players. Payne is probably just a solid player but nothing really stands out. Also, while the kid can jump, Taj is a better athlete than Payne (Taj is one of the best athletes in the NBA). However, I love Payne as a prospect!

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    Kevin and Doug,

    What are your opinions of this possible trade on BR suggested by Scalleta?

    "Chicago could offer the Knicks Carlos Boozer, their two first-round picks this year, their protected Sacramento Kings pick, and agree to take back Raymond Felton's bad contract.

    If the Bulls did all that, and Anthony took a contract to make the salaries match, he would make $17.24 million in the first year of a four-year, $73.63 million deal. That would still be a significant pay cut, but it’s not an insulting one."

    I do not know how long Felton's contract is, but it can't be very high if his and Carmelo's proposed $17.24 million would match Boozer's $16.8 million plus the two 1st rounders. I think this might be a mistake.

    If not, then moving Taj for a draft pick should allow the Bulls to get Carmelo and bring over Mirotic this summer. That is a contending team! Plus the owner(s) would be thrilled that they are not eating Boozer's salary for next season (tho that would be reduced anyway by whatever he gets from another team).

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I don't think Melo takes that at all - sorry.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Who's playing power forward if you trade Taj, Vonleh isn't ready and Taj won't get you that high. Mirotic has to come at the MLE and pay his own buyout and be starter quality day one. The whole idea of trading for Melo would be to not have to divest Taj. Also, once you trade for Melo you can pay him whatever the Knicks could have.

  • Taj does sound like a really good comparison. Both came out of college much older than the average draftee. I agree he would likely be availible much later for same reasons Taj fell. 23 and 24 year olds typically have nearly maxed out their games and have a low ceiling. That said having a Taj light type player would be a nice pickup with our second pick.

    Conditioning can be improved and he would be unlikely to be a heavy minute guy early in his career anyway so that wouldn't be a major concern for me. Good review Kevin!

  • In reply to Chad:

    Thanks - he is one of the safer prospects in the draft!

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    Kevin and Doug, what are your opinions of this possible trade on BR suggested by Scalleta?

    "Chicago could offer the Knicks Carlos Boozer, their two first-round picks this year, their protected Sacramento Kings pick, and agree to take back Raymond Felton's bad contract.

    If the Bulls did all that, and Anthony took a contract to make the salaries match, he would make $17.24 million in the first year of a four-year, $73.63 million deal. That would still be a significant pay cut, but it’s not an insulting one."

    I do not know how long Felton's contract is, but it can't be very high if his and Carmelo's proposed $17.24 million would match Boozer's $16.8 million plus the two 1st rounders. I think this might be a mistake.

    If not, then moving Taj for a draft pick should allow the Bulls to get Carmelo and bring over Mirotic this summer. That is a contending team! Plus the owner(s) would be thrilled that they are not eating Boozer's salary for next season (tho that would be reduced anyway by whatever he gets from another team).

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Sorry for the double-up. The system told me it had failed, so I assumed my first post was lost.

  • I love Payne for the Lacy story. What a guy. What a great story. We need more great people like him in this world.

    I'm not too excited about him on the Bulls b/c not much upside. However, he does have potential due to his advanced perimeter shooting. We'll see what the Chicago rookie stats show in terms of size, length, jumping, etc...

    The Bulls definitely need shooting, but if Mirotic comes over, isn't he just a duplication of him? Or, could he play some 5 and, therefore, with Mirotic? Obviously, rebounding and interior D would suffer, but against some teams without legit centers, this would create matchup problems and space the floor.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Honestly, even if Mirotic was coming over, drafting Payne could give us the option to trade Taj and provide depth. Stating that, I can't see the Bulls carrying 2 rookie PF's.

  • Nice review man. Normally a guy like Adreian Payne with the rare combination of size(7' wingspan), shooting, skilled, and not excellent but outstanding athleticism is not going to be available at pick 16 let alone 19. Two things change that: one being a loaded draft in talent from 1-15. The other being he was only prolific in his senior year which is often a red flag to scouts, and this at 23 yrs. old. Also, there are stamina concerns - lung capacity(limited minutes/effectiveness), lack of defensive stats/awareness at times, somewhat foul prone, and narrow hips and shoulders wondering if he can bang with the big boys on the block.

    That said, this guy took a while to click, but he can flat out put the ball in the hole. 3.4 three attempts per game as Kevin mentioned at 42% that's legit in my book especially when you consider the guy shoots 85 and 79% from the line the last two seasons on 4.5 attempts this season which is huge in validating his effectiveness as a shooter.

    Payne is by all accounts a guy who plays with passion/emotion, high character, and a good work ethic in general not just in game. He improved dramatically in school as well for what it's worth. You can always regard someone with labels like role player, limited upside, but the fact remains that this guy is a stud athlete both in athleticism and quickness which is huge in correlation with NBA success. He's skilled and can hit spot up and off the dribble J's plus drive by guys to the basket when neglected on the weak side. OK, the overt gushing has caused a pool of tears around my desk so I will stop now as I will have to mop up upon completion of this post.

    As things stand now it looks like Payne will probably be available with that 19th pick, but even at 16 I'd be very pleased if the Bulls drafted this guy. Ideally, you get him at 19 and take a guard or wing we need like Jordan Adams, Rodney Hood if he drops which is possible, Nik Stauskas unfortunately will be long gone I'm afraid, or I hate to say it but I really like the PG Shabazz Napier(yes the NCAA Final Four over value curse, guilty as charged). If the Bulls hold on to their picks even if they add Mirotic I like Payne at PF and some C back up duties which you can get away with now in the largely centerless NBA. Along with one of the guards I mentioned that would be a great draft IMO.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    If the Bulls do get Mirotic then Payne probably is not an option unless you commit to Nikola as your PF of the future as in now, and then cash in Taj while his stock is as high probably as it's ever going to be for a SG say an Eric Gordon(yes Knees) or if not then Tyreke Evans or if you don't like these guys pick an available wing who can actually score preferably shoot(threes) whose out there. Anyone out there who might be available where team needs a starting quality PF?

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I'm thinking the same thing. Unless Payne is legit 6'10" with no shoes and can play the 5 a bunch, he's not needed much with either:

    Mirotic-Gibson-Noah
    or
    Melo (playing some 4)-Gibson-Noah (with Mirotic coming possibly in a year)

    Bulls do need a backup big for Noah, who is getting holder, so if he's a C, then I'm all for it. Otherwise, he's simply a pick for depth unless there is a trade involving Gibson or Mirotic.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Or, maybe this Greg Smith guy can really be the backup 5. You can never have enough shooters in today's NBA and Mirotic and Payne getting a lot of minutes in futures years makes sense with a guy like Rose. Image if we actually had a shooting guard that could shoot, too?!

  • In reply to Granby:

    came in at 6'9" but with a 7'4" wingspan and over 9' standing reach, taller and longer than Taj. My kind of guy and he can shoot the ball, if he's there at 16 I can't pass on him unless my boy Saric is still there(not likely)

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I don't think we could trade both our picks to get #4 pick (which is the lowest Exum will go in this draft). Teams that high in this draft want stud players (unless Lakers get up there - they might reach if we throw in Taj - doubt it). Either way, Payne should be a really good player!

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    agree, Exum doesn't make it past 4, but I would love to take a shot at him finally being out solution at SG even though he sees himself as a point guard. Positive that Taj and both our picks doesn't do it, would adding the Sacto pick make it happen, still doubt it, but it might be fun to find out. Love to keep one pick this year to add Payne to replace Taj though.

  • Side note: though they won't do it, the Bulls packaging their picks and a player to get up to say 5 with a perhaps willing partner already awash in recent drafted youth like Sacramento(I know famed dupe) to get Dante Exum would be worth consideration in my view. I think he could end up being the star of this draft. Not saying you can get the No. 5, but this draft is regarded as deep 1-15 in legit talent but no star laden. That move won't happen though, but just a thought.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I like where your head's at...

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    "Just a thought." Yeah, but a nice thought! I also would love to see that move, Taj and 2 or even 3 picks for #5, yep. However, as we saw with Tyrus, high picks are no guarantee.

    I would rather grab Saric, BigWay's guy. He could be a future Allstar for cheap.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I think Exum is actually going to be better! However, Saric is a nice prospect!

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    If you could only get to 5 then as you said you miss out on Exum, then who is the best prospect on the board, I would skip Randle, Smart and Gordon and choose between Saric and Vonleh.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I would be totally on board to move up for Exum, Vonleh or Saric. It would hurt, but I guess that I could live with parting with Taj for those guys.

  • Are you guys watching the Kerr to Golden State possibilities increase? If Phil can't recruit his #1 option to run the triangle, score one for the Bulls in the Melo sweepstakes...

    NY is going to be really bad next year. Is Melo going to waste a year of his prime winning 28 games next year? He only has around 3 prime years left, perhaps.

  • By the way did anyone see that the Pacers got outrebounded 62-23 last night. How is that even possible and it isn't even the record for a playoff game, although all the other times its happened were in the 60's and 1971 when there were a lot more rebounds to go around. didn't the pacers only score 23 points in a half earlier this season, what a flawed team.

  • I believe Washington is a better team than the Pacers are right now. The Pacers need floor leadership which was a glaring need--Wall was truly a leader--the Pacers need someone in that mode.
    This was a good review of Adrian Payne who I think the Bulls should draft even with the coming of Mirotic--I would love to see the team have these guys relieve Gibson from time to time--while they both gain experience. If one watches this year's playoffs it is apparent that a team cannot have too deep a bench. The price is right for Payne and he would have time to develop. Mirotic is also a long range 3 point threat while Payne could be the rebounder--these two guys may be interchangeable. Look at the big men line ups in this year's playoffs.

  • I like Payne a lot, but I can't see the Bulls drafting him. I wouldn't be upset if they did, but they have more pressing needs. They have to figure out what they are doing at the wing spot before they start adding depth at PF. If he is a real option at C, then I'd be in favor of it but I haven't seen many scouts even bring that up for him. Kristaps Porzingis might be a more suited pick if they want a center. Looks like a very athletic, big time shot blocker. He might not be ready right now, but that may not be to bad with Greg Smith on the team. I hope the Bulls are looking into him at 19.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    I see what you are saying, but the Bulls need depth and talent. I would be intrigued if we knew for sure Mirotic was not coming this year or wanted to trade Taj!

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    Shouldn't the Bulls pretty much know about Mirotic by the draft, if they don't then there is something wrong with them.

  • I haven't heard anyone bring his name up, but a dark horse pick could be Spencer Dinwiddie. He's coming off of a big injury and that might scare people away, but the guy is a baller. I think he would be in lottery discussion if not for getting hurt.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    I don't think Dinwiddie is a lottery prospect pre-injury in this draft. However, he might be a steal in early 2nd round and should be healthy by season start - unless he takes the Drose route (joking)!

  • What about a trade? I know Gordon Hayward isn't the super star that some want, but what about trading both first round picks, Dunleavy, and the one from Sacramento (or Cleveland or whoever) to Utah? Maybe they would throw in their early second round pick. Bulls get a guy to play SG that is ready to contribute now rather than hope on a rookie, and the Jazz get a bundle of picks that would allow themselves a quick rebuild or great trading pieces. If they draft Embiid, they could put together a great package of draft picks with Kanter to get a really good player.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    That's too much for a restricted fa that will get overpaid anyway. I like Gordon, but would rather use money elsewhere if throwing that package out there.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    So you want to trade 3 #1 picks and Gordon Hayward SR(Dunleavy) for the right to massively overpay Gordon hayward Jr. Sounds like reupping for the new Luol Deng bad contract at small forward.

  • "At 6’10 and 240 lbs., Payne might be a little slight in build,"

    Only in the NBA does this statement not sound absolutely absurd.

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