Hawks Select Adreian Payne With 15th Pick

The Hawks select Payne 15th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft.
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With the 15th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks selected big man Adreian Payne from Michigan State. Payne is an exceptionally skilled offensive player and will provide the Hawks with another big man that can stretch the floor. He shot 50.3 percent from the field and 42.3 percent from three-point range on 3.4 attempts per game at Michigan State.

“We want to play with pace and space, and Adreian is someone that can do both,” Hawks GM Danny Ferry said. “From being able to run the court and compete on both ends, along with being able to shoot the basketball, he fits the way we want to play. Along with that, Michigan State guys are guys that we like. They play with a high level of competitiveness. It’s a program that we greatly respect and obviously he’s been raised the right way by Tom Izzo and Michigan State.”

“Yeah, I’m very excited that I can continue to play my game and stretch the floor and play inside and out,” Payne at his media availability in New York after the draft said.

Payne’s measures in at 6'9¾" and 240 pounds with a 7'4" wingspan. He has the size to play against bigger fours down low on defense, and he can create mismatches on offense with his floor-spacing and shooting. With the Hawks’ affinity for bigs that can shoot and space the floor, Payne makes a lot of sense in Coach Bud’s offensive system.

“He’s a stretch big,” Ferry said. “He’ll be able to shoot and open the court up for our guards and everybody in general. That’s something we value.”

“It’s definitely going to help, playing into my strengths,” Payne said. “Just being able to be team-oriented and not just relying on one guy to go out and do everything as a team-oriented game. It’s not just offense, it’s definitely defense.”

Ferry and Coach Bud frequently talk about looking for high character players, and Ferry noted that Payne’s character was certainly something they looked at.

“He’s a good young man,” Ferry said. “We look forward to getting to know him even more. Coming from a program like Michigan State and being around Tom Izzo and the values that program has, and playing in a style that we think fits the style that we play. I think he’s a good fit for what we like to do.”

“From Michigan State, we have a toughness,” Payne said. “I’m going to just bring toughness, hard work, and I’m going to play hard every game and in practice.”

The Hawks have a strong frontcourt pairing of Al Horford and Paul Millsap already, but Payne can fit in as a rotation guy early to provide the Hawks with an extra offensive option off the bench.

“It’s great I’m able to be around some great guys, and guys that compete at a high level. I can look at them, and they can show me the ropes,” noted Payne. “I’m ready to get out there so I can compete.”

The Hawks will pick again with the 43rd pick in the second round. 

Story by Robby Kalland

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