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Draft picks who could be a steal late in the first round: Elfrid Payton and Jordan Adams

Jun 4, 2014, 5:41 PM EDT

Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns v Arkansas Razorbacks Getty Images

Based on history, a couple of things are certain out of this draft:

One of the top three guys in the draft is not going to live up to his potential (and likely get a GM fired).

Some guy farther down the draft board will explode in the next couple years and end up being better than we expected, leading a lot of fans to ask “how come our GM passed on…”

Here are a couple of guys you may want to watch for that later category.

Jordan Adams of UCLA is a guy who ESPN Stats guru Kevin Pelton projected as the third best returning prospect in college ball this year (behind Marcus Smart and Gary Harris) — the stats loved him. Scouts were not as sold. But Jordan showed an effortless scoring touch in the NCAA Tournament, then showed up at the NBA Draft Combine 22 pounds below his listed UCLA weight. He was quicker and more importantly he had one of the best outside shooting days at the combine.

He’s a guy in the rise — a potential second round pick who could slide into the late first. He’s a guy our draft expert Ed Isaacson of NBADraftBlog.com and Rotoworld says he should be climbing the board.

“Now I’m not sure exactly where these (statistical) models rate Adams, but I think people who are considering Adams a 2nd round pick may be underestimating him because he is a versatile scorer who can help teams fairly quickly, while also being a good defender and having some room to grow as a player,” Isaacson told ProBasketballTalk. “There will be concerns with his athleticism, but that’s not his game. He knows how to find holes in the defense and score. He is like T.J. Warren in that manner. Ultimately, Adams is a player who I think will work better in some systems more than others, and he could be a good role player with the right team.”

And help them quickly.

Another guy who could go in the first round and have a lot of fans saying “who?” then loving him by the time Summer League is over is Elfrid Payton. The 6’4” point guard out of Louisiana Lafayette has reportedly looked good going up against Marcus Smart in workouts for teams. Isaacson has him going 17th in our first mock draft, DraftExpress has him going 27th.

How much value is there in that pick?

“I guess it really depends on where you saw his value to begin with,” Isaacson told PBT. “Putting aside Exum, who I’m still not convinced will be an NBA point guard, Payton to me has been the second best point guard prospect in this draft, behind Smart and ahead of Tyler Ennis. I like to think that NBA teams that spent time watching him this year saw the same things I did, and realize that he can be a point guard who will make his teammates better while also being able to score and defend at a high level. Holding his own against Smart in workouts will certainly be a help if he needs to change the minds of people who want to focus on the fact that he played in the Sun Belt conference, but it really should just solidify him as the next best point guard option after Smart. In terms of actual movement on draft boards, I’m not sure if there’s enough he can do to break into the lottery, though I wouldn’t fault a team for taking him in the 12-14 range.”

That may be a little high, and wherever he goes fans may shake their heads. But they will see him play and change their tune fast, he could be a steal.

  1. buffalowned - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:50 PM

    I’ve been doing some research on Payton…seems like a perfect fit for Miami if he makes it that far. Good defense, good in transition and plenty of offensive upside.

    • jkirby317 - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      I guess “googling” a name and reading others thoughts are considered research now…

      • buffalowned - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:08 AM

        Have you ever been in school? (unlikely based on your posts). That’s generally what research consists of. I didn’t say I scouted him or watched him play. I read scouting reports and watched his highlights. If you don’t think learning about an individual via internet is research i’m not sure what is. Clown.

      • jkirby317 - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:34 PM

        All you did was read what other people thought before you. You watched games? Great. You read BLOGS? Awesome. But “Research” it is not. It is reading blogs and watching sports…nowhere near research. Research would imply that you were finding out NEW information. You just DVR’d a game and watched First Take… hardly research.

      • jkirby317 - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:36 PM

        Highlights cannot give an accurate scouting report… If that is your idea of “research” then Gerald Green should be an ALL-NBA player. Have fun “researching” the finals.

      • buffalowned - Jun 6, 2014 at 11:32 AM

        you truly are an idiot

    • dexterismyhero - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      Watch out, Kirby will call you a racist next!!!

      • jkirby317 - Jun 7, 2014 at 5:15 PM

        only if he say’s something racist. I call ‘em like I see ‘em.

  2. pbtunpaidwriter - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Miami needs to be more like San Antonio and be crafty with getting sleepers/doing more due diligence in the draft.

    • buffalowned - Jun 5, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      I think Greg Poppovich has a lot to do with that. Miami has only had one first round pick since the big 3 era, Norris Cole, and he is a solid piece in their rotation.

      • spursareold - Jun 5, 2014 at 3:22 PM

        Pop probably has less to do with it than you think. I think he sets some parameters like no clowns, headcases, attitude problems, and pretty much let’s RC do his thing.

        Even though I think he warrants selection shortly after the lottery, Payton will probably fall into the 20s. Too many GMs are afraid to make a mistake, so they take the “safe” pick: a player from a big school that their fans have probably heard of.

      • buffalowned - Jun 5, 2014 at 5:21 PM

        I disagree with your statement about Pop. Yeah the GM does a great job picking them but almost everyone that plays for him reaches their potential. He gives guys roles and they stick to them. Probably the best coach in NBA history in my opinion. And the reason I think Payton will fall is because this draft is so deep. There are a lot of really good players in this draft that will fall. Definitely a chance to get instant contributors late in the first. I think Damian Lillard and Paul George have proven that small schools shouldn’t hurt a guys draft stock.

  3. jkirby317 - Jun 7, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    Buffalo knows about Pop… he did research.

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