Within a one-month span, Elfrid Payton has morphed from a projected late first-round pick toward a prospect suddenly catching buzz.
The Louisiana-Lafayette guard impressed enough buzz in his pre-draft workouts for some circumstances to change. The NBA has invited Payton to sit in the green room during the Draft on Thursday, which is typically reserved for prospective lottery picks. The Lakers hosted Payton on Friday in what marked his second workout with the team. And this time, the number of reporters surrounding him multiplied substantially.
“That was cool that they think that much of my game that they want to see me again,” said Payton, who averaged 19.3 points, 5.8 assists and 2.3 steals per game with the Ragin’ Cajuns. “They like me to some degree. A lot of people didn’t really watch me. I think the want to make sure what they saw is real.”
The Lakers walked away impressed.
A team source that witnessed Payton’s workout gushed about his playmaking, believing he struck a great balance in showing strong court vision while staying patient.
“I’m just a laid back person on and off the court,” said Payton, who said he tries to model his game after the Clippers’ Chris Paul, San Antonio’s Tony Parker and Boston’s Rajon Rondo. “It translates to the game. I never try to rush anything or force anything.”
Well, except for one thing.
Payton may force NBA teams, including the Lakers, to consider him as a lottery pick.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity,” Payton said. “It’s fun going to al these teams and showcase what I can do.”
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