Who does Adreian Payne have to screw to be considered a NBA Draft Lottery pick? I mean Jesus, many draftnicks like ESPN's Chad Ford don't even have Payne projected as a first rounder.
Hopefully Payne's performance to start the 2013-2014 season will help dispel several myths:
1) That Tom Izzo doesn't produce NBA talent;
2) That Michigan State doesn't develop big men; and
3) That four year seniors can't become upper echelon NBA Lottery picks.
With his ability to shoot the three point shot, pick and pop, post up, put the ball on the floor and block shots, Payne has the ability to play either the four or the five at the next level and is one of the more complete big men I've seen in college basketball in recent years.
And while Kentucky's Julius Randle is the poster child for the NBA Draft, Payne outperformed him in the first half of the Michigan State - Kentucky game before some soft foul calls sent him to the bench and allowed Randle to go off.
Unfortunately for Payne, the NBA is about 25 years behind the NFL when it comes to drafting collegiate players.
Instead of drafting players based upon well researched analysis of their athleticism/measurables, basketball IQ, and psychological profile, NBA executives seem to draft players based upon one thing and one thing alone...Their perceived upside.
How else can you explain Chad Ford rating a walking piece of shit like Willie Cauley-Stein of Kentucky #21 while he excludes Payne from his top thirty altogether?
I live in Lexington, and I pretty much watch all of the UK games...Apparently Chad Ford doesn't.
Cauley-Stein doesn't post up hard, he can't shoot, can't play defense, and seems about a second late on every rebound that he goes after.
Fortunately, he makes up for all of that by appearing as if he doesn't give a shit, being 7'0, and having been recruited by John Calipari. Quite frankly, Willie Cauley-Stein is the anti-Adreian Payne.
For reasons that only Ed Martin, Jalen Rose and Steve Fisher can understand, Chad Ford has Mitch McGary ranked as his #19 NBA Draft prospect.
McGary has no outside shot, no real post moves, and no proven track record aside from a brief flash during the NCAA Tournament. Granted, the kid can rebound like a Mongoloid, but then again, so could Jerod Ward.
It's amazing how far out of touch from reality that NBA Draft evaluators have become.
As much as I hate to admit it, if Adreian Payne was playing the way he is right now for John Calipari at Kentucky, he'd probably have half of the NBA and ESPN in line to suck him off right now.
But instead of being viewed as a potential superstar, he's almost viewed as damaged goods despite having developed a complete NBA skill set that players rated above him haven't, and likely never will acquire.
Payne and Michigan State have the rest of the season to change some perceptions and schools of thought concerning the NBA Draft.
Fortunately, Payne seems like an even better person than he is a player...Not that it matters to the NBA.