Former Michigan State forward Adreian Payne has generated some significant buzz since the completion of the college basketball season, and that positive momentum has him seemingly rising up NBA draft boards. Payne, as with all draft prospects, is in the midst of “workout season” with prospective NBA teams, and on Monday, he announced to the world that he was heading to Toronto to meet with the Raptors.
On my way to Toronto…
— Adreian Payne (@Adreian_Payne) June 16, 2014
It isn’t a shock to see Payne visiting with Toronto, mainly because the Raptors hold a pick (the 20th overall selection) that is firmly in line with where the 23-year-old forward could land. However, there could be some additional fire in addition to the smoke here, as ESPN’s Chad Ford currently projects Payne to be selected by the Raptors.
Here is what Ford had to say about the prospects of Payne landing in Toronto in his latest mock:
Payne would be a great get for the Raptors if he’s still on the board. He could go as high as No. 13 to the Wolves, but I doubt he slips past the Raptors. With Patrick Patterson a free agent, Tyler Hansbrough unlikely to have his option picked up, the Raptors are left with only Amir Johnson. Payne’s abilities to stretch the floor and play inside are a great fit in Toronto.
The experts at Draft Express project the 6-foot-10 Payne to be off the board by that point, as they have him pegged to the Phoenix Suns with the 18th pick, but he would look awfully good in a Raptors uniform. Regardless of where Adreian Payne lands, his next team will be acquiring an NBA-ready player, and if it wasn’t for the fact that he is a 23-year-old after playing four years of college basketball, we would likely be looking at a mid-lottery selection.