With Josh McRoberts‘ decision to opt out of his contract, the Charlotte Hornets will need an upgrade at the power forward spot. With two first-round picks and a second-round pick, the Hornets will definitely have the opportunity to grab players at multiple positions. While most draft boards have the Hornets picking a wing player early on, the Hornets should strongly consider drafted Michigan State‘s Adreian Payne.
The Hornets need a versatile big man to line up next Al Jefferson. While they will continue to develop Cody Zeller, Payne is the type of player who can come in and play right now. Payne is 23 years old and played all four years in school, averaging 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in 2013-14. Standing at 6-foot-10 and weighing in around 245 pounds, Payne as has the size to thrive in the NBA as well.
Payne is the type of versatile player the Hornets need as he is a big man who can play inside and out. Payne improved his shooting range during his senior year at Michigan State to the point were he can stretch the defense out as a basically stretch-four. Also, Payne can put his back to the basket and score down low. Payne also can jump out the gym as well. The Hornets could use Payne in multiple lineups because of his versatility.
While most draft boards have Payne going elsewhere in the first round, the Hornets should really consider taking him early at No. 9. McRoberts was a huge piece of the Hornets last season and will likely demand a pay raise, so Payne could be a cheaper alternative. Taking Payne in the draft will give the Hornets a guy who is versatile and experienced, which is one thing they were lacking of last year.