I agree that Payne has a chance to be an NBA player, and agree that he has a ways to go before having a chance. Specifically, Payne needs to not only develop a reasonably reliable short jumper and jump hook to have more opportunities to score, he needs to clean up his ball handling enough to be able to get by defenders when he puts it on the floor.I've haven't been paying a lot of attention to the NBA draft and undrafted players who enter the NBA in the past few years but I've watched reasonably closely over the last 20 + years.
It's not like every NBA forward or center these days is a capable 3 point shooter. Yes, far more are than used to be but that skill set doesn't appear much for a fair number of them.
A surprising number of players make the NBA at least on a short-term basis and many of them are undrafted but make a roster for a period of time as free agents. The NBA has its own version of lower cost scrubs.
Can Payne make it there? It's possible. I could see him as a Lavoy Allen type or potentially a Paul Reed caliber player. I think improving his free throw shooting would be more important that developing a reliable 3 point shot.
His ticket to the NBA would be his defense and his incredible motor. His energy, explosiveness and strength are plenty to play in the big leagues. At this point, assuming he did work on his jumper and free throw shooting pretty hard this past off-season, I'd be surprised if he improved these things enough to be considered an NBA prospect any time soon. But after 2.5 more years of improvement? Maybe. And if it does take him that long to develop more offensively, we get to sit back and watch that incredible energy and motor help us approach the top of the Big Ten standings the next 2 years.