NBA Draft

Atlanta Hawks Select Adreian Payne at No. 15


The Atlanta Hawks reached the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season despite losing two-time All-Star Al Horford early in the campaign due to a torn pectoral muscle. However, the franchise enters the summer strongly positioned, barring any major trades, to make another postseason run in 2015.

With the 15th pick of the draft the Hawks selected forward Adreian Payne from Michigan State University. Payne averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds during his senior season in college but also managed to connect on 44 three-pointers on 42 percent shooting.

Payne’s outside shooting touch is a premium addition for the Hawks who value big men who can stretch the floor offensively. Payne won’t be expected to log extended minutes as a rookie behind Horford and All-Star forward Paul Millsap. The Hawks also have forwards Pero Antic and Mike Muscala already on the roster with Mike Scott likely headed to restricted free agency, so playing time may be hard to come by early on.

Hawks president of basketball operations Danny Ferry stressed the role of Payne’s development under head coach Tom Izzo at Michigan State as a key reason for Atlanta’s decision to draft the forward. Ferry says the team wants utilize Payne as a stretch big man who puts pressure on opposing defenses because of h ability to knockdown the three-point shot.