Would The Charlotte Hornets Take Cameron Payne?


Would the Charlotte Hornets take another point guard?

The point guard from Murray State is reportedly on the radar of the Charlotte Hornets when they are on the clock with the ninth selection of the 2015 NBA Draft. This news comes from Chad Ford, ESPN Insider and NBA Draft guru:

"Two teams I’ve heard are especially high on him in the lottery — the Hornets and Pacers."

Interesting. Would the Hornets really look to draft a point guard after locking up Kemba Walker for the next four years? After the bricktastic show Walker put on down the stretch run of the season, maybe they would.

Still, Walker is a very popular player in Charlotte, and if the front office decides to move him then the fans will be upset unless they get back something good in return. Late first round draft picks and mediocre players will not be good enough.

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Drafting a guy like Cameron Payne, who does not seem to have much upside, would be a questionable decision. NBADraft.net outlines his weaknesses here:

"Although he’s long/lanky (which is a plus), he does not have the best physical attributes … Thin body frame … Needs to get stronger … Is not and explosive player off the dribble … Cannot jump out the gym … Not a high flier … Good athleticism but not at an elite level … Lack of explosiveness off the dribble limits shots at the rim … Does not possesses a tremendous first step … Forces the issue on offense at times … Can be turnover prone (averaged 2.5 turnovers per game) … Has to learn to make simple passes more often … Decision making can improve … Plays too fast sometimes … Needs to tighten up his shot selection (takes low percentage shots) …"

Taking Payne would be a huge risk, and Hornets fans would be calling for general manager Rich Cho’s head if Payne did not produce right away. Especially so if Walker began to thrive on another team.

The safer move would be to just resign Mo Williams as insurance for any Walker related injuries or poor play. Given how well Brian Roberts did on the court during his limited stretch as a starter, taking another point guard with the number nine pick seems like a reach.

Playing at Murray State, and not reaching the NCAA tournament, means that Payne played against mostly sub-par athletic competition and yet he still had trouble getting open looks for himself. That spells trouble, possibly even disaster.

He hit 39.8% of this three point attempts during conference play, and made 48.5% of his shots overall. However, to be fair, we can compare him to a small school NBA success story like Damian Lillard.

Lillard, playing at Weber State, made 42.7% of his threes in conference play, and shot 48.9% overall. He also dished out 4.5 assists and grabbed five rebounds per 40 minutes.

Payne averaged 6.8 assists and grabbed five rebounds. Both players had 2.5 turnovers per 40 minutes, and Payne finished with an effective field goal percentage of 52.7% to Lillard’s 55.8%.

The biggest difference between Lillard and Payne is the athleticism. Check out the strengths of Lillard before he was drafted:

"Extremely confident shooter that is dangerous at mid-range or well behind the arc … Won’t hesitate to square up from 25-28 away from the hoop … Needs very little space or time to get off a quality shot … Highly efficient for a volume shooter (43.2% on 7.1 three-point attempts per game) … Is able to create his own shot or spot-up off the ball effectively … Handles the ball fairly well … Uses quick, short dribbles and changes of direction/speed to keep defenders off balance … Is able to get in the paint at will, and is a crafty finisher around the rim … Aggressive in transition, always looking to make something happen … Lives at the stripe, attempting an average of 8.0 free-throws a game (88.4%) … Quality passer, that has the ability to create for his teammates by driving into the lane and kicking the ball out …"

The free throws are a great example of where athleticism and quickness make a difference. Lillard averaged 9.6 free throw attempts per game in college, while Payne gets to the line just 6.8 times. Lillard could take any man off the dribble and create his own shot, while Payne often forced shots up because he lacked the quickness to get an open look for himself.

The Hornets should probably pass on Payne. He is a low-upside player with bust potential. They are better off looking for a guy who could lead this team farther than just the number eight seed. Payne is not that guy.

Next: Are The Mavericks Interested In Lance Stephenson?