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NBA Draft Grades: How did the Hawks rate?

Let's take a look around and comment on the comments that others make about the Hawks' draft last night.

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Drafting a power forward wasn't exactly what the Peachtree Hoops team thought was in store for the good guys on NBA Draft night, but that's what the Hawks did in grabbing Michigan State titan Adreian Payne.

Payne is a high-finishing, lights out shooter who brings two suitcases full of intangibles. Brad was J.J. Stoked about Payne in our Google Hangout and had to be thrilled that the 15th pick brought this versatile stretch four to the ATL.

But what did everybody else think about the Hawks draft? Did they pan our lack of wingzzz? Were they overly concerned about Payne's lungs? Or were they as fired up as Rowland about Payne?

Let's take a look, with our director's commentary afterwards, of course:



The Hawks picked up a prototypical stretch power forward in Payne. He's long, athletic and a good long range shooter. The former Michigan State Spartan will fit nicely in coach Mike Budenholzer's motion offense and will find time immediately spelling both Al Horford and Paul Millsap. If he were 21 instead of 23, he would have been a top 10 pick.


The mothership offers a solid eval of the Hawks #1 pick and slides Payne in the comfy catbird's seat of a great fit who can help immediately. Upside is interesting in that it often gets confused with a low ceiling. Payne's ceiling is high, but it's already defined.

ESPN's Chad Ford:


Round 1: Adreian Payne (15)

Round 2: Walter Tavares (43), Lamar Patterson (48)

Analysis: The Hawks went with a couple of seniors and a huge upside pick. Payne, who was only drafted this low because at 23 he's old for the draft and may have less room for improvement, gives the Hawks a big man who can stretch the floor and play down low. Patterson is the sort of blue-collar swingman that the Hawks love; he does a little bit of everything, but has zero sexiness to his game. Both guys contribute right now, which is what the team went into draft day wanting. Tavares has crazy wingspan and huge hands -- the raw tools to be a dominant big man. But he's really far away. The Hawks will let him continue to develop in Spain and see what they have down the road.

A "B" from Chad Ford? He's spot on with the non-sexiness with Payne and Patterson as well as their ability to contribute right away, something most Hawks fans wanted from their draft picks. Weird day when Ford may be higher on the Hawks draft than Hawks fans.

CBS Sports:

15 B+ Hawks select: Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State

Total beast. Can stretch the floor and attack the rim. Coach Bud can mold him. He's 23 years old and can help them now.

Sometimes you have to remind yourself that 23 years old is still quite a young man. Sure, the ceiling is more developed for somebody like that, but so is the floor. Stretch the floor. Attack the rim. Yes, please!

Yahoo! Sports:

15. Atlanta Hawks: Adreian Payne, Michigan State, PF, 6-10, 239, Sr.
Jeff Eisenberg analysis: Unlike most of the power forwards in the draft whose production still needs time to catch up with their potential, Payne is more of a what-you-see-is-what-you'll-get prospect. The 6-foot-10, 23-year-old developed into one of the nation's best big men over his four years at Michigan State, averaging 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds during a breakout senior season. What gives Payne a chance to be a rotation player right away at the NBA level is his ability to be a mismatch on offense and a difficult cover on pick-and-rolls and pick-and-pops. He can back down smaller defenders in the post or take bigger, slower defenders to the perimeter where he has developed into a consistent mid-range and 3-point shooter. Marc Spears' grade: A.

Mismatches, Pick and pops, outside AND inside.....a grade A from Friend of the Hawks, Marc Spears. Starting to look like a clean sweep of positivism from the national pundits.


Atlanta Hawks

Additions: PF Adreian Payne (No. 15 pick, Michigan State), C Walter Tavares (No. 43 pick, Spain), SG Lamar Patterson (No. 48 pick, Pittsburgh).

The Hawks drafted two college seniors (Payne and Patterson) and the biggest and arguably rawest player available (Tavares). The point of intrigue here is that the Hawks had a lot of talent up front already, with Al Horford and Paul Millsap well established as starters and Pero Antic and Mike Scott (a free agent they surely want to keep) on the bench. Payne is ready to play in the NBA but was a reach with more talented wing players still on the board who could have filled the Hawks' needs better. Tavares was a great pick because his upside is huge, with some likening him to fellow Spaniard Marc Gasol.

Grade: C+

This is where a lot of Hawks fans are today, largely because Adi, like ourselves, were insistent that the biggest need on the team was a wing who could be a three and defense guy. With guys like James Young, Rodney Hood and Gary Harris on the board, it may have seemed like a reach and luxury to grab Payne, as Adi relates here.

Peachtree Hoops:

15 Atlanta HawksAdreian Payne

[B] I would have preferred to see Atlanta bring in James Young or Gary Harris who had no business falling out of lottery, but Payne will provide as much immediate help as anyone who was available. There are not many human beings who can make threes and defend centers. Payne can.

Et tu, Patrick? It's a fair thing to point out that the Hawks didn't take advantage of the wings, or trade down, or anything except grab Payne at 15 when it came to the first round, but Patrick does a good job of measuring the positives of what the Hawks did get, rather than focus completely on what they did not.

Bleacher Report:

Overall Grade: B+

No. 15: Adreian Payne, PF/C, Michigan State

The Atlanta Hawks will not stray from their current course.

Though they could've used an upgrade on the wings, the often-middling franchise took Adreian Payne, bolstering the frontcourt with yet another big man who's fully capable of both putting the ball on the floor and dropping it in from the perimeter....

....This pick can't earn an "A" designation because it doesn't address the primary need, even with Gary Harris still on the board just outside the lottery, but Payne still fits with the Hawks' scheme, so long as he's able to stave off the exercise-induced asthma.


Looks like the consensus is the following:

  • Hawks took a really good player in Payne whose talent is obvious and can help right away.
  • They did not address a wing, which most believed to be the primary need.
  • Walter Tavares is a huge man that carries intrigue and should prove to be an interesting draft and follow fellow
  • Lamar Patterson can shoot, shoot, shoot from the three, and Mike Budenholzer loves that profile.
An above average draft night, even if too many other teams were on the ball (like the Sixers and Jazz) to make it a home run on all fronts.