Is Elfrid Payton a Sleeper Candidate for LA Lakers?

With the NBA draft just days away, an unexpected sleeper candidate has emerged for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Elfrid Payton, a 6’4” point guard out of Louisiana-Lafayette, was one of three prospects invited back for a second time for a Lakers predraft workout on June 20—the others being Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart and Arizona’s Aaron Gordon.

As Mark Medina for the Los Angeles Daily News reported afterward: “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.”

Payton was originally thought to be a late first-round pick but has earned an invite to sit in the green room at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday, June 26—an honor reserved for 21 top prospects.

Writing about the pride of Gretna, Louisiana, John Reid for the New Orleans Times-Picayune shared the opinion of Ryan Blake, the NBA’s director of scouting:

I really like this kid because he can make a difference on both ends of the floor. I think he will have a chance to get minutes early because of his ability to cause chaos on defense, rebound and run the point and find the right man. I think he's a guy that plays with maturity and confidence.


The Lakers hold the No. 7 pick in a deep and talented draft that has become surprisingly volatile as of late.

Joel Embiid, once seen as a potential No. 1 overall pick, had foot surgery on Friday, and nobody knows how far he could slip. Dante Exum, Marcus Smart and Noah Vonleh have all trended up recently, while Julius Randle has slipped a couple notches.

Payton has length, athleticism and an electrifying intensity. What he doesn’t have is an outside shooter’s touch. This season, the Ragin' Cajuns junior averaged 19.2 points, 6.0 boards and 5.9 a...

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