Going into the 2014 NBA Draft, few teams will have as much flexibility or as many decisions to make as the Chicago Bulls. They own two first round picks in the draft, but are also trying to figure out how they can acquire a superstar like Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Love. That means one or both or their draft picks could potentially be traded, but if they end up keeping both, one player Chicago should consider drafting is Michigan State forward Adreian Payne.
Payne is an impressive specimen that stands 6-foot-10, 245 pounds, making him ideally sized to play power forward in the NBA. For a big man, he has a number of different talents, including his ability to knock down perimeter shots.
At Michigan State, it took Payne a couple of years to become a full-time player, but he had a breakout season for the Spartans in 2013-14, averaging 16.4 PPG to go along with 7.3 rebounds per game. He also shot better than 50 percent from the field and 42 percent from beyond the arc on 104 attempts.
It may not seem like the Bulls need much help in the frontcourt, but with the likely departure of Carlos Boozer, that opens up a spot at power forward, where at the very least, depth will be needed.
Furthermore, the Bulls’ pursuit of Anthony and Love could force the team for part ways with Taj Gibson, who is currently projected to Chicago’s starting power forward next season.
If Gibson is traded and the Bulls still own one or both of their draft picks, then Payne could be the perfect replacement. He shoots the ball better than most players his size, and is an effective rebounder as well as a solid defender.
Ideally, Payne could come onto the roster in a backup role with time to develop, but if he needs to play right away, the four-year college player should be ready to contribute from the get go.
Rebounding and shooting are valuable commodities in the NBA, and both are things Payne can do, and do well for an NBA team from day one. He may not have the polished post game you would want in a starting power forward, but that can be developed over time. Yet, his shooting, rebounding and toughness are all reasons why he is a great fit for the Bulls.