Cameron Payne is Special

Cameron Payne is a very special basketball player. As I mentioned in a blog post on a different site before the 2015 NBA Draft, I was struck by the “It factor” that Payne possesses. At Murray State, Payne was not only a dynamic scorer, anchoring one of the best mid-major teams in the country, but he exuded unbelievable effort on defense. While I watched him during the OVC Tournament, I saw Payne hit incredibly difficult fadeaway threes in crunch time, while diving for a loose ball and intercepting a pass on the next possession. It did not matter how much he was struggling earlier in the game or if he had 4 fouls, Payne played with a certain intensity and confidence that was unique. He would stomp the floor, pump the crowd, and encourage his teammates. Unfortunately a fadeaway three at the buzzer for Belmont crashed the Racers hopes for a NCAA Tournament bid. If Payne was given the “March Madness” platform, I firmly believe that many others would fall in love with his great basketball skills and charisma, leading to an increase in his draft position. Nonetheless, this rare set of intangibles paired with his long slender frame, and smooth shooting stroke made Payne a special prospect. After being selected with the 14th overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder, it was assumed that Payne would be developed slowly at the end of the bench behind fellow PGs; Russell Westbrook and DJ Augustin. However, Payne quickly showed his tremendous skills. In his limited time Payne has shot about 40% from three and has put up impressive per 40 minute numbers of; 17.7 ppg, 6.9 apg and a PER of 17.13. Payne has impressed so much that he has clearly taken over the backup PG role and has led to the trading of DJ Augustin. Payne still must to continue to develop, but it appears that he is well on his way to becoming a great NBA player.

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