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SB Nation Mock Draft: The Indiana Pacers select Cameron Payne

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

With the 11th pick, the Indiana Pacers select point guard, Cameron Payne out of Murray State.

From Indy Cornrows: He’s got great wing span for a guard his size, he’s got quick hands and feet which actually will help him transition into the NBA game quite well.  We know he can score, but will he play enough defense to be a regular starting point guard in the NBA?

Larry Bird has mentioned speeding up the Pacers style of play but that won't be a full-time conversion next season, so despite the need for a versatile big man, Cameron Payne fills a desperate need for backcourt depth. Even better, that depth will be on a rookie contract while developing into a bigger role in the future.

C.J. Watson will not return and even if Donald Sloan does, Payne gives the Pacers a young guard who can score and despite his thin 6'2 frame, has a wingspan in excess of 6'7 which Frank Vogel covets on the defensive end. Payne can break into the playing rotation as an additional offensive threat off the bench, especially if Rodney Stuckey returns, as expected.

Payne left Murray State after his sophomore season when he averaged 20 points, six assists and and nearly four rebounds per game. Bird rarely drafts on the side of upside, but hopefully the success of his last attempt (Paul George) will let the Pacers fill a few different needs in the backcourt with one pick.

Kevin: When is the last time a there was a two and done from Murray State!?  The Racers fanatics must be ecstatic right now.  Payne does quite a lot well and I think he fell below Mudiay because of his size.

Payne is going to be able to get some decent minutes playing back up to George Hill.  Well it all depends on what happens with Donald Sloan as well.

Lucas: When looking at Payne’s stats, his 20.3 Points per game average jumps off the page. How ever, when I watch him, what strikes me the most his ability to make the right pass, whether it be in transition, the half court, or the pick and roll. I don’t expect Payne to make much of an impact for the Pacers next season, but he will add some energy and speed for Pacers in transition off of the bench, something they desperately need, as Indiana ranked 19th in Pace last season, according to Hollinger’s NBA Team stats. Still, I expect Payne to be a bit of a project, he is fairly undersized at 6’2", and 183 pounds, and needs to improve his ability to finish at the rim, as he only shot a mediocre 50.7% from two point range last season. Though, adding weight should help him improve his ability to finish. However, his potential is high, and if he is able to make strides on the defensive end, his 6’7" wingspan should help him become an effective two way player in a few years time.

Taylor: George Hill is what he is at this point. You know what you're going to get from him night in and night out. George Hill is never going to be the star point guard that will lead the Pacers to the promised land. Is Cameron Payne? It appears they are willing to try and find out. Personally, I think this is too high for Payne, but if the Pacers wanted a point guard, he was the best one on the board. Payne's frame, and his game, are similar to that of Michael Carter-Williams. Tall, long point guards who can score the ball despite not being able to shoot exceptionally well, and excellent passers. Payne, however, is only 20 years old and has more potential than MCW.

Dontae: I like this pick for the Pacers, a point guard that can score (20 ppg in college), pass (39.5% assist percentage, one of the best in the NCAA), play solid defense, has good size (6'2" with a 6'7" wingspan), and comes from a small school. The Pacers last small school pick up was Paul George. They go 2 for 2 with this pick.

George Hill is forever the combo guard masquerading as a point guard and the Pacers need to improve beyond Solomon Hill and Rodney Stuckey in the backcourt. Payne can run the pick-and-roll and score from the perimeter, a must for a team with Roy Hibbert and David West in it's frontcourt. He can did have trouble finishing in the paint at the mid-major level (shooting 49%), which is not a good sign when he's about to face the best athletes in the world. Overall I like Payne, he's going to a solid Pacers team with an established identity (though he should help evolve that), solid players, and clear role.