Adreian Payne's transformation into the focal point of Michigan State's offense over the years was something to watch, and despite only playing just over 28 minutes per game, partially due to a lung ailment that impacts his stamina -- Payne used 14.8 possessions per game, one of the higher marks among this group despite his relatively low playing time.
Payne's development shows in the diversity of his offensive role as he saw 27.7% of his offense on post ups, 20% from spot-up attempts, 10.5% in pick and roll spots, 7.8% from put-backs, and 7.2% off of cuts. He also managed to improve his jump shot considerably, which made up 41.8% of his offense and from which he scored 0.92 points per shot, making good progress in his ability to expand his range out to the collegiate three point line. This expanding of his offensive arsenal should help Payne adapt to the lesser role he'll play in the NBA.
Adreian Payne: The athletic stretch four measured with the third biggest wingspan at 7-4 after measuring a 7-foot wingspan in 2009 at the LeBron James Camp. He also has gained 25 pounds since then, which is impressive. Payne had one of the largest height-to-wingspan differentials with a plus-7. Payne's measurable (6-9 no shoes and 239 pounds) are similar to 2012 draftee Andrew Nicholson, who measured 6-8 ½ with no shoes and 234 pounds with a 7-4 wingspan. Payne's measurements aren't that far off from Derrick Favors' actually, as he's actually a quarter of an inch taller, with a similar wingspan and standing reach, but is six pounds lighter (Favors was much younger at the same stage though).
Scouting Report by Jonathan Givony. Video Breakdown by Mike Schmitz
After a very strong finish to his junior season, Adreian Payne was faced with a tough decision, but ultimately elected to return for his senior year. Now that his college career is over, we'll take an inventory of everything he displayed this season as an NBA prospect, as well as the things he still has to improve on.-Jordan Adams Scouting Report and Video Breakdown -Isaiah Austin Scouting Report and Video Breakdown -Jerami Grant Scouting Report and Video Breakdown -James Young Scouting Report and Video Breakdown -Gary Harris Scouting Report and Video Breakdown -Kyle Anderson Scouting Report and Video Breakdown -P.J. Hairston Scouting Report and Video Breakdown -Zach Lavine Scouting Report and Video Breakdown -Artem Klimenko Scouting Report and Video Breakdown -Tyler Ennis Scouting Report and Video Breakdown -Rodney Hood Scouting Report and Video Breakdown -Doug McDermott Scouting Report and Video Breakdown -Andrew Wiggins Scouting Report and Video Breakdown -Elfrid Payton Scouting Report and Video Breakdown -Marcus Smart Scouting Report and Video Breakdown -NBA Draft Prospect of the Week: C.J. Wilcox (Video Scouting Report) -NBA Draft Prospect of the Week: T.J. Warren (Video Scouting Report) -NBA Draft Prospect of the Week: A.J. Hammons (Video Scouting Report) -NBA Draft Prospect of the Week: K.J. McDaniels (Video Scouting Report) -NBA Draft Prospect of the Week: Deonte Burton (Video Scouting Report) -NBA Draft Prospect of the Week: Noah Vonleh (Video Scouting Report) -NBA Draft Prospect of the Week: Nik Stauskas (Video Scouting Report) -NBA Draft Prospect of the Week: Aaron Gordon (Video Scouting Report) -NBA Draft Prospect of the Week: Clint Capela (Video Scouting Report) -NBA Draft Prospect of the Week: Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Video Scouting Report) -NBA Draft Prospect of the Week: Shabazz Napier (Video Scouting Report) -NBA Draft Prospect of the Week: Bogdan Bogdanovic (Video Scouting Report) -NBA Draft Prospect of the Week: Joel Embiid (Video Scouting Report) -NBA Draft Prospect of the Week: Julius Randle (Video Scouting Report) -NBA Draft Prospect of the Week: Jabari Parker (Video Scouting Report) -Revisiting Giannis Antetokounmpo (Video Scouting Report) -Revisiting Damian Lillard (Video Scouting Report) -Revisiting Nikola Mirotic (Video Scouting Report) -Revisiting Alexis Ajinca (Video Scouting Report)Payne made a significant jump offensively in his senior year, going from being a non-scorer early on in his career (he barely cracked 10 points per game as a junior) to the 9th best per-minute scorer among our Top-100 prospects at 23 points per-40. Not only did he score at a prolific rate, he was also highly efficient (54% 2P%, 42% 3P%, 79% FT%) at that. His 61% TS% ranked 13th overall among Top-100 prospects, and he was utilized in an incredibly wide variety of ways this season, be it posting up, running the floor (or trailing) in transition, finishing as a roll-man or cutter around the basket, spotting up and knocking down open jumpers on the perimeter, or attacking closeouts with strong takes to the basket or a pump-fake and one-dribble pull-up.
Payne reinvented himself as a stretch power forward mid-way through his junior season, after only taking four 3-point attempts in his first two and a half seasons of college basketball. He shot 142 3-pointers in his final 50 college games, making a very impressive 42% of them his senior year. Payne's release is fairly slow, as he dips the ball significantly on the catch and thus takes a while to get his shot off. Nevertheless, he's dangerous enough with his feet set that he can't be left open on the perimeter, which changes the complexion of the game and will be a very valuable weapon for his head coach to utilize in the NBA.
If a defender closes out too aggressively, Payne is capable of attacking the rim off one or two dribbles, either to finish strong at the rim or shoot a pull-up jumper. He hit a very respectable 35% of his off the dribble jumpers this season, and ranked as one of the best around the basket finishers in college basketball in the half-court. Payne converted an outstanding 70% of his attempts in these situations, thanks to his big hands, long arms and explosive leaping ability. While not freakishly agile or fast, particularly since he's added weight to his frame, Payne is very quick off his feet and came up with some really impressive finishes in his four years at Michigan State.
One major question mark NBA teams have revolves around his frame. Despite being one of the older players in this draft class, he still has a very weak lower body, with narrow hips and an overall build that could struggle with the wear and tear of an 82 game season. Payne's weak base makes it difficult for him to hold his ground in the paint on both ends of the floor. Will he be able to keep the stronger power forwards in the NBA from establishing and catching the ball with deep post-position? He got overpowered at times by younger college players, so there are some concerns here.
Defensively in general Payne has never been considered a real stalwart. His awareness is average at best, as his focus wavers at times and he often loses track of his man off the ball, being a step slow with his reaction time. Can he pick up on the much more complex schemes NBA coaches like to utilize? Payne is more susceptible to fatigue, as he has smaller lungs than the average person his size. When he's tired his effectiveness tends to deteriorate here. As his minutes increased over the last four years, his steal, block and offensive rebounding rates all fell off relative to his playing time, although part of that is due to the role he played.
Diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Payne's basketball IQ was considered a major issue early on in his career, but he's improved as he's gotten older and more experienced. He went from being one of the worst passers in college basketball (4% AST% as a freshman/sophomore) to being right around average at his position, as he ranked 9th in this category of the 21 power forwards currently in our Top-100 prospects with 10% assist rate.
Nevertheless, it's not a stretch to say that his ability to read the floor isn't great, as it takes him a moment to process things and he's simply not an overly instinctive player in terms of his natural feel for the game. Playing power forward in a more complex offense like some NBA coaches like to run, with a 24 second shot clock as opposed to 35, that could be somewhat of a concern.
While Payne is very much a known commodity and in some ways could be considered a finished product at age 23, there's a comfort level in what he brings to the table and how easily he can be plugged into a NBA role. He improved significantly in each of his four years in college (as well as in the classroom), which indicates a strong work ethic, and is considered a very character individual who has overcome a lot in his life (his father was incarcerated on drug charges when he was a child, mother passed away when he was 13) to arrive where he is now. While other prospects may have a higher ceiling, his ability to play right away--and particularly stretch the floor, which is extremely valuable at his position in today's NBAshould make him a popular target for teams looking to plug a hole outside the lottery.
We've taken a more visual look at Payne's strengths and weaknesses thanks to game film from Michigan State in the following video scouting report, courtesy of Mike Schmitz.
All of our video scouting reports this season can be found here.
A video breakdown of Adreian Payne's 41-point NCAA Tournament performance against Delaware, with a focus on the different aspects of his offensive game he showed, and how they might translate to the NBA.
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Following a largely unproductive freshman campaign, top-30 high school recruit Adreian Payne took some very strong steps forward as a sophomore, improving notably in nearly every facet of his game. Heading into his junior season, Payne is primed for another strong year, and will have every opportunity to expand his role with Draymond Green graduating and leaving 33 minutes per game for the taking.
On the court, Payne saw a strong increase in minutes, production, and efficiency, making good use of his improved frame and showing much more confidence in finding ways to consistently impact the game.
Payne's offensive contributions come predominantly within five feet of the basket, where he's developed a penchant for throwing down some ferocious highlight reel dunks. In addition to his excellent size, length, and athleticism, Payne has developed some nice hands and coordination that make him a very dangerous threat on pick-and-rolls, especially in combination with his confidence finishing with power at the rim.
Payne is similarly explosive attacking the offensive glass, where he shows good instincts and pursuit, along with a nice second bounce and of course, no qualms about finishing strong. His ability finishing on off-ball cuts lags behind his pick-and-roll and offensive rebounding somewhat, as he's still coming into his own with his overall feel for the game, but he's not someone defenses want to leave alone roaming around the paint.
In terms of his post-game, Payne has improved some from his freshman year, still showing largely crude footwork and having problems with turnovers against top competition, but doing a better job taking advantage of his physical tools and showing decent touch on his finesse moves. He's much more comfortable executing moves against weaker competition and with more space to operate, seeing his effectiveness go down markedly in more difficult situations. This area is still a work in progress for him, but he shows some nice flashes, specifically with a running hook that shows a very high release point and solid touch.
Payne's skill level in general is still below average for a junior big man with NBA potential, but he showed a considerable learning curve over the past two years, most notably with his much improved shooting. His FT% went from a dismal 48.6% on one attempt per game to a respectable 69.7% on 2.4 attempts per game, and he also showed flashes of turnaround jumpers in the post and even some 10-15 footers later in the season. While his in-game shot isn't NBA-ready by a long shot, he shows solid mechanics and appears to be putting in the work, making it something to watch out for this season.
Defensively, Payne has also taken some strong steps forward, developing into a pretty effective post defender who does a good job taking advantage of his physical tools. While his fundamentals are still a little rough around the edges and he's prone to being overpowered against players who are in his league physically, he does a good job moving his feet and using his length to contest shots, being tough to score on for most opponents. He focused less on blocking shots this season, but still is a worthy threat there with his length and mobility. Things are less encouraging for Payne at this stage on the perimeter, where he looks mostly lost in pick-and-roll defense despite having considerable potential down the road with his elite physical tools.
The biggest concern for Payne heading into this season is if he steps up to fill the voided role in Michigan State's frontcourt and if his body can handle a significant increase in minutes from the 17.9 per game he saw as a sophomore. Payne reportedly has smaller lungs than an average person his size would, resulting in reduced lung capacity that makes it difficult to play extended minutes. That Payne has overcome this and made such a marked improvement as a sophomore is a testament to his work ethic, and it will be interesting to see if he can make similar gains as a junior. Payne already brings an intriguing package to the table with his physical tools, offensive rebounding, ability to finish around the basket, and defensive potential, so he could certainly put himself firmly on the NBA radar if he makes additional strides this year.
A consensus top-30 recruit in high school, Adreian Payne's freshman season was mostly a learning process, averaging just 2.5 points and 2.4 rebounds in 9 minutes per game.
Listed at 6-10, with a long wingspan, large hands and a frame that should fill out reasonably well in time, Payne is a mobile, agile big man with physical attributes that simply cannot be taught.
Skill-wise, Payne is a fairly limited player at this point, seeing most of his touches around the basket and not being counted on for scoring at all in Michigan State's offense. Capable of playing above the rim and showing very nice extension around the basket, Payne has average footwork and touch and at times looked out of place on the court. His lack of strength hurts him in the paint, and it's clear that his skill-level and feel for the game are still catching up with his physical tools, as he dished out just 5 assists all season and converted 49% of his free throw attempts.
Where Payne did contribute was as an offensive rebounder and shot-blocker, two areas where he ranked among the freshman leaders on a per-minute basis. He's a useful player to have around the basket because of his size, length and agility, and he seems to put a solid effort in as well. Not immune to getting taken advantage of by stronger and more experienced frontcourt players, Payne needs to continue to fill out physically and improve his ability to step out onto the perimeter and move his feet.
Like many young, raw big men, the best thing you can say about Payne at this stage is that he has potential, as he was clearly not very productive as a freshman. Players in his mold can make big, sudden jumps in ability, though, so it makes sense to continue to keep track of his progress to see how he's improving. With Michigan State returning pretty much their entire frontcourt, it will be interesting to see how much more playing time Payne can stake out as a sophomore.
This was our first look at the oddly spelled Adreian Payne (#23 Scout, #14 Rivals, Unranked ESPN), and we can definitely tell what the recruiting services (some of them at least) see in him early on. All arms and legs was the way one NBA executive described himwhich tells you a little bit about both his strengths and weaknesses. He has really nice size (maybe closer to 6-10 than the 6-8 or 6-9 hes listed at), a freakishly long wingspan, and a frame that should be able to add weight in time. Hes incredibly skinny at the moment, to the point that it really affects the way he can operate on the court.
Payne is a very quick and athletic big man who does a little bit of everything right now, but doesnt seem to really know what his game is all about just yet. He can run the floor extremely well, put the ball on the deck a little bit, finish around the basket (if strength is not an issue) with an emphatic dunk or with his left hand, bounce off the ground (often consecutively) for blocks and offensive rebounds, and even occasionally hit a surprising pull-up jumper.
The problem is that hes exceptionally raw, but no one seems to have let him in on that little secret yet. Hes not an efficient player at all just yet, being very turnover prone, and his decision making seems to have the longest to go from what we can tell. Paynes shot-selection looked brutal at times, throwing up some awful bricks on contested looks, and getting himself into serious trouble by trying to do too much with the ball in his hands. He tried to block pretty much every shot that he could too, looking fairly off with his timing, and getting himself out of position to compete for the defensive rebound.
Still, you cant help but be intrigued about what this guy might develop into considering his natural physical tools and just how incredibly young he still is, so we definitely need to stay tuned and see how he develops over the next few years.