The Atlanta Hawks added three players to their roster during Thursday night’s draft with first-rounder Adreian Payne and second round selections Walter Tavares and Lamar Patterson.
At 6-foot-10, Payne (No. 15 overall pick) is a true power forward that starred under legendary head coach Tom Izzo at Michigan State. Payne improved his production every year at the school and averaged 16.4 points per game his senior season while hauling in double-digit rebounds for the third year of his career.
Payne’s athleticism on the boards and in the paint, paired with his range makes him the ideal fit for the Hawks. The offense operates at an uptempo pace and uses its outside shooting and ball movement to spread the floor. Payne’s skill set satisfies both of the offense’s key ingredients and the Hawks noticed the match while making their decision to draft Payne.
“We want to play with pace and space and Adreian is a guy that can do both,” said Hawks general manager Danny Ferry.
Payne went through his round of media sessions in New York after being selected and called in to talk briefly about his role on this team and what he’s looking forward to when he puts on the Hawks jersey.
“I’m very excited to play in this system,” said Payne. “The offense in Atlanta is my style of play and Coach Bud [Budenholzer] is a great coach. I really am just excited and looking forward to getting down to Atlanta and getting to work.”
THE SECOND ROUNDERS…
Atlanta went International with its next draft selection while also choosing the biggest prospect in this year’s draft with Walter Tavares. The 7-foot-3 Cape Verde-native plays for Spain’s ACB League, which is considered the next best league in the world behind the NBA.
Tavares is a developing prospect, but the upside and combination of size and ability was too much for the Hawks to pass on.
“We felt like it was a good risk to take,” said Ferry about drafting Tavares. “We look forward to helping him develop going forward.”
The Hawks picked up Patterson through a trade with Milwaukee that sent Atlanta’s second round pick next year to the Bucks. Patterson is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard that was taken 48th overall. He has four years of collegiate experience under his belt while playing at Pittsburgh. Patterson posted 17.1 points per game while averaging 32.6 minutes per game last season.
Payne and Patterson each come in with a ton of experience and success at the collegiate level. Tavares on the other hand, is the young one out of the picks. However, he’ll enter the league as one of its biggest current players and his all-world size gives him an edge. Developing players is a process that the organization is very confident about.
“We develop everyone on this team,” said Ferry. “Kyle Korver got a lot better last year as an example. As an organization, we put a focus on all our players to continue developing.”
The Hawks established structure despite a string of injuries during Budenholzer’s first season with the team and their flexibility with cap space puts them in great shape heading into the 2014-15 season. Atlanta boasts the second longest postseason streak in the NBA with seven consecutive appearances.