Phoenix Suns Pre-Draft Workout #9: Adreian Payne, Jordan Adams

Today's Suns workout was headlined by Adreian Payne, Jordan Adams, and C.J. Wilcox.

Today, the Suns workout featured prominent college big man, Adreian Payne (PF, Michigan St.),  skilled sophomore Jordan Adams (SG, UCLA). and shooting specialist C.J. Wilcox (SG, Washington).

Adreian Payne is a long, skilled, power forward from Michigan St.  He has improved his game dramatically since he was a freshman, showing great development and improvement in nearly every aspect of his game.  As a senior, Payne averaged over 16 points and 7 rebounds per game.  This included not only shots near or at the rim, but out to the three point line as well  Payne can score in transition, by putting the ball on the floor, or off of dunks and the pick-and-roll.  Not only did he prove to be a versatile scorer, he did so while shooting over 50% from the field as well.  In addition, Payne brings the athleticism to play above the rim, and consistent effort on defense.  So what's not to like?  Well, he has limited upside at this point, is reported to have smaller lungs than normal for a person his size, and he has a history of injuries (nothing Aaron Nelson cant fix, right?).  Still, with his skills and ability to be a two-way player, it's really difficult not to love him as a mid-first round pick.

Jordan Adams is a tremendously skilled offensive guard from UCLA.  He knows how to score, especially inside the arc, and is a very good finisher once he gets to the rim.  He's 6'5", but has excellent length at the shooting guard position, measuring a 6'10" wingspan, and is also very strong for his position, which helps him score in post-up situations and finish through contact. Adams is one of the most offensively skilled shooting guards in the draft, with an ability to get the ball in the basket in a multitude of ways.  His biggest downsides are his lack of athleticism, tying the lowest max vertical out of all positions at only 29.5", and the fifth worst lane agility time at 12.13 seconds.  This is definitely a concern when transitioning to the NBA where he will be facing much faster and athletic guards, and has already struggled defensively in college due to his lack of athletic ability.  His conditioning has been an issue as well, though he lost around 20 pounds prior to the combine and also appeared to be in fairly good shape today.

The other possible late-first to mid-second round pick in attendance was C.J. Wilcox.  Wilcox is a shooting specialist who is also a pretty good defender...a very good prospect for a "Three-and-D" specialist in the NBA.  Wilcox is not only a great shooter, he has very good athleticism as well, which helps him on the other end of the court, though he rarely uses it to attack the rim offensively.  However, Wilcox can do more than just catch-and-shoot, he is also effective at shooting off the dribble as well.  Wilcox projects well as a role player or a bench scorer in the NBA, and could be a consideration for the Suns, especially if he's still available when they pick in the second round.

Here is the full list of today's participants, along with their information:


Prospect Profiles:

Other Workout Notes:

  • For the first time since I've been attending these workouts, Archie Goodwin was not in attendance.  Perhaps he had other plans, is out of town, or maybe he just took the day off.  Either way, I think he definitely earned the reprieve.
  • Adreian Payne was noticeably tired after practice, and looked very slow starting off the three-minute conditioning drill.  Although he started off dead last, to his credit, he really dug deep and finished strong toward the end, and at least finished better than Daniel Miller, the other big man in attendance, before it was all said and done.  You could see it took everything out of him though, and he was still very tired even during the interview session.  Not sure if it's something to be concerned about or not, but it's worth noting.

Interviews:

Ryan McDonough

On Adreian Payne

"Adreian is a nice combination of a guy that can step out and make shots on the perimeter.  He moves his feet very well for a guy that size.  He's pretty long as well but also wiry strong.  I think he's best at facing the basket right now, but he's a guy you can see developing a back to the basket game as well.  Obviously there's more room for improvement between 19 and 23, but there's a lot of guys that are pretty good players at 23 already, and he's one of them.  You could draft a 19 year old guy who has the potential to be as good as him in four years, and the guy might never get there.  He might never do what Adreian Payne has done.  In terms of next years' Suns team, where we were a game away from the playoffs this year, it's easier to see a guy like that coming in and playing fairly early in his career."

On important of power forwards providing spacing

"I think the ability to shoot the ball from the power forward position is a strength of ours, and I think it helps with our spacing.  Not only the ability to make threes from that position, but also the ability to space the floor for Goran and Eric, and our penetrating guards.  it's important, and it's tough to defend.  We do have that option with Channing, and we have that option with Markieff as well.  The more guys you can slot in that role and not have to change your style of play the better, especially if they can shoot it pretty well and consistently, which Payne has done over the course of his career."

On C.J. Wilcox and Jordan Adams

"C.J. Wilcox had a terrific career at Washington shooting the ball.  he came in primarily as a role playing shooter, and extended his game to be more of that throughout the course of his career.  Jordan Adams was the youngest guy in the group.  He's a strong, sturdy guy, and he was able to shoot the NBA three with no problem.

On Markel Brown's athleticism

"He was up there.  I'd have to check the (vertical) test results, but h e was either at the top or near the top of the 54 or so guys we've had in...He's a pretty explosive guy. Combine that with his shooting ability and he's a pretty intriguing player."

Jeff Hornacek

On Adreian Payne

"You don't just want a stretch four guy that does nothing but shoot the ball.  You want a guy that can go in the post some and play inside. And if teams want to play a smaller four, they can punish them inside.  I think Adreian can do both of those things."

On seeing players on tape vs. in person

"To see them on tape it's sometimes hard to tell.  There's a difference when you watch it on tape then you get to see them live.  Quickness is one thing...sometimes they may look slow on tape and you get them out here and you say oh, that guy's got pretty good quickness.  So I like the workouts."

Adreian Payne

On workouts

"I'm a little tired from that run.  The workouts have been good.  I'd say this one wasn't my best but it was good.  It was a great workout."

On fitting Suns style of play

"I feel I can fit a bunch of styles of the NBA because I'm versatile and I can play inside out.  i can bring a lot of things.  I can guard different positions, block shots, and be a presence of the floor."

On being mocked to the Suns

"I don't pay much attention to mocks.  But I like it out here, and if they pick me then that's great."

Jordan Adams

On strengths

"My strengths are my shooting ability, scoring, getting deflections on defense, getting steals in the passing lanes, and my basketball I.Q."

On toughness of Suns workout

"I would say this was the toughest (workout) that I've been through thus far, with all the running, the shooting, and the competitive drills."

C.J. Wilcox

On Suns workout

"It went well, it's a lot of running...the most running I've done in a workout so far.  It was definitely a challenging aspect, but we had a good group of guys, and everyone worked hard."

On Hornacek's involvement in drills

"I loved it.  He's really involved in the workout.  We listen to what he was saying because he knows what he's talking about.  He would come over to the side and talk to us and give us a couple of pointers going forward which is really helpful in the process.

On strengths

"Shooting the ball.  That's definitely my number one strength.  That's what got me here, that's my specialty, and that's what I feel like I'll be drafted on."

Another workout coming on Monday.

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