Possible draft options for Wolves at No. 13: Adreian Payne
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In the lead-up to the June 26th NBA Draft, we are taking a closer look at several of the prospects the Wolves could potentially select with the 13th overall pick.
Next up, Michigan State's Adreian Payne.
Position: Power forward
School: Michigan State
Height/weight: 6-foot-10, 239-pounds
Mock draft projections:
ESPN.com (Chad Ford): No. 13 - Minnesota
CBSSports.com (Zach Harper): No. 13 - Minnesota
DraftExpress.com: No. 20 - Toronto
HoopsHype: No. 24 - Charlotte
CBSSports.com (Gary Parrish): No. 12 - Orlando
BleacherReport.com: No. 12 - Orlando
Stats: After a strong junior season with the Spartans (10.5 points, 7.6 rebounds), Payne was widely considered at the very least a second round pick, with the potential to sneak into the first round. But Payne opted to put off the draft and return to East Lansing for his senior year.
It looks like it was the right choice. Payne averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds, despite battling with a foot injury and an illness that was eventually diagnosed as mono. The extra year also gave him time to add a bit of range to his game. Payne, who made only 17 3-pointers in his first three seasons (17-of-45, 37.7%), converted on 44 of his 104 attempts (42.3%) from long range as a senior.
Notes: Payne has the physical makeup needed as forward to the make the transition to the NBA. At 23, Payne could be the oldest prospect taken in the first round this year. Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders is well-acquainted with Payne's body of work with the Spartans as a result of his close friendship with Spartans coach Tom Izzo.
"With Kevin Love's future in Minnesota in question, Payne is a fantastic fallback plan. He can play either position at the 4 and 5, he can shoot from outside, and he'd help them dominate the boards. If Love leaves, you slide him in as a starter."
"Payne has proven to be a clutch performer and a true weapon as a three-point shooter. While he still has some work to do as a post threat, his potential to be an inside-outside big forward with high-level athleticism gives him real intrigue. He was a top recruit and stayed four years, developing a once questionable work ethic under Coach Izzo. His jump shot has become extremely accurate with excellent form and rotation. His tournament performance helped him and snagging a late lottery pick is a possibility."
"It's rare for juniors who are projected as second-round picks to return to school and become lottery picks. But Payne, who could be a really good pick-and-pop forward in the NBA, somehow beat the odds."