The voting for the Liberty Ballers Big Board now begins to muddy, as Cameron Payne out of Murray State received just 20% of the vote over the weekend with very few percentage points separating him from similar late-lottery-to-mid-first prospects like Trey Lyles (16%), Devin Booker (14%), Kevon Looney (13%) and Jerian Grant (11%).
This seems like a scenario where the consensus' favorite, lottery-guaranteed prospects like Justise Winslow, Mario Hezonja and Stanley Johnson are now off the board, leaving a ton of leeway for the LB readers to rifle through the field and make a decision likely based on who's college games or Draft Express videos they watched most intently.
Payne is fine choice at 13th though. I'm fairly high on him and did a pseudo-scouting report on the the point guard two weeks ago when I picked him for the Pacers in the Liberty Ballers mock draft. Here's an excerpt from that article:
Cameron Payne out of Murray State is the latest in now what seems like the annual rise of a mid-major point guard up big boards and mock drafts, the same way Elfrid Payton and Damian Lillard did in years prior on their way to becoming top-10 selections. The chart below illustrates how Payne, along with the two and the Murray State Racers point guard Payne succeeded, Sixers gunner Isaiah Canaan, fared during their sophomore seasons:
Player Year School MP TS% FTr 3PAr P/40 R/40 A/40 Damian Lillard 2009-10 Weber State 1062 .594 .445 .499 23.2 4.7 4.2 Isaiah Canaan 2010-11 Murray State 900 .571 .465 .535 16.7 2.7 3.4 Elfrid Payton 2012-13 Louisiana-Lafayette 1171 .532 .533 .127 17.9 6.3 6.2 Cameron Payne 2014-15 Murray State 1127 .573 .315 .415 25.1 4.6 7.4
The rest of that piece is filled with campaign/campayne jokes and reworked lyrics to Cam'ron's "Hey Ma," a true Liberty Ballers anthem.
As for where the voting goes from here, I'll take Kevon Looney. He has top-10 talent. He knocked down 41.5% of his threes, though that came on just 53 attempts, while spending time at the power forward spot on an undersized and underachieving UCLA squad. Standing 6'9" with a 7'3.5" wingspan, he possesses the length necessary to guard multiple positions defensively and spend time both on the perimeter and down low offensively, versatility needed in a league where small-ball lineups are increasingly prevalent.
Looney does have asthma unfortunately, a condition that will likely keep him out of the lottery now despite his top-14 status all season long, but with a lack of clear contributors at this point in the draft, gambling on Looney would make sense and also fit the 76ers' mold.
With voting still scattered, I won't add another player to the plethora of options still available. Let us know if you think any other players should be though.