Mar 21, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns guard Elfrid Payton (2) drives against Creighton Bluejays guard Grant Gibbs (10) in the first half of a men

Draft Profile: Elfrid Payton

 

With the NBA Draft Lottery behind us, we shift our focus directly to the June 26th NBA Draft. Over the next month we’ll look at some of the top prospects in the draft, along with players that the Magic either reportedly worked out, or interviewed at the NBA Draft Combine. Louisiana-Lafayette point Elfrid Payton is up next. 

After three seasons as at Louisiana-Lafayette, Elfrid Payton is making the jump to the NBA. Payton, who was not highly recruited out of high school, burst onto the scene with his stat sheet stuffing while a member of the Ragin’ Cajuns. He’s still some what of an unknown to many, but Payton brings a lot to the table on both ends of the floor, and could be in for a very successful NBA career. 

Points  

Rebounds  

Assists  

Steals  

TS%

2011-12  

7.2

3.6

3.0

1.2

48.7

2012-13

15.9

5.6

5.5

2.4

53.2

2013-14

19.2

6.0

5.9

2.3

55.1

Payton put together three solid year’s at Louisiana-Lafayette, culminating in a big junior year. Payton helped lead the Cajuns to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005, however their run was brought to an abrupt end by the Doug McDermott led Creighton Blue Jays. Payton proved he can score relatively easily and do so in a efficient manner, while also still getting his teammates involved, something he’ll undoubtedly be asked to do at the next level.

Measurables 

Height w/shoes  

Weight  

Wingspan  

Standing Reach  

Max Vert

6’ 3.75”

185

6’ 8”

8’ 2.5” 

35.5

Strengths 

  • Physical Tools 

Possibly the most intriguing thing about Payton are his great physical tools. Even though he stands at just under 6’ 4”, he’s got great length which will help him with some of the bigger point guards in the league. Payton also displayed great quickness in the open court while in school, to go along with his ability to play above the rim. His combination speed and size make him a very interesting point guard option going forward. 

  • Defense 

Payton has proved to be a hard nosed, gritty defender while in school. He seemed to pride himself in his work on the defensive end, and it showed. Payton, at times, was asked to guard players other than point guards, and despite giving up size, did a good job. His long arms, big hands, quick lateral movement and good anticipation skills allow him to defend pick-and-rolls solidly, while also being a menace playing passing lanes. He’s proven he can be a solid rebounder as well, which helps to open up more opportunities for his team in transition. 

Weaknesses 

  • Outside shooting

Despite averaging over 19 points per game this past season, Payton was seemingly never a threat from deep. He was a career 26.8 percent three-point shooter while at Louisiana-Lafayette, which allowed defenses’ to play off of him at times and force him to beat them with his jumper. Payton is still young, sitting at only 20 years old, and his shot from deep should continue to improve as he goes on. At this point, however, it’s a big concern and could cause him problems, especially early in his career. 

  • Turnovers 

All three years in school Payton had issues with turnovers. For his three years, Payton averaged 3.4 turnovers per game, which is due in large part to his occasional carelessness with the ball. Of players in DraftExpress’ top-100, Payton has the second highest turnover rate at 20.1 percent for his career. He has a tendency to make the wrong pass and lazily passes ball way too much. He’s got a solid handles, and clearly has point guard skills, just needs to work on making better decisions with the ball. 

Conclusion 

Arguably the fourth best point guard in this draft class, Payton could be prepared to come in and make an impact from day one. His physical tools, coupled with his strong play on both ends make him a very interesting talent moving forward. He has some things to tighten up, mostly on the offensive end, but with more time he’ll be able to do so. 

Most mock drafts have projected Payton to be a mid-to-late first round pick, but it’s possible the Magic could be targeting him with the 12th pick. They’re in desperate need of a point guard, and despite his struggles shooting, pairing him with Victor Oladipo would give the Magic one of the better defensive backcourts in the league. The team could also choose to trade back and try to acquire another pick if they felt Payton was their guy. 

 

Previous Profiles 

James Michael McAdoo

Nick Johnson

Glenn Robinson III

Jordan Adams

T.J. Warren

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