- Associated Press - Friday, June 27, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - Adreian Payne has the skills and character that Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry covets in a draft pick.

Payne, a 6-foot-10, 245-pound power forward, impressed Ferry in helping Michigan State advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament last season.

Ferry also appreciated that Payne, who averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds, returned for his senior season and graduated with a degree in interdisciplinary studies.

Those achievements and a recent personal workout for the Hawks convinced Ferry to select Payne with the 15th overall draft pick on Thursday night.

“Playing for a guy like Tom Izzo for four years can be nothing but good,” Ferry said. “He’s a terrific coach and he’s a mentor to the young guys he has. We have a great deal of respect of their program.”

Payne, speaking from the NBA draft in Brooklyn, believes he’s found a solid fit in Atlanta.

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

Atlanta also took Walter Tavares, a 7-3, 265-pound center from Spain, in the second round with the 43rd overall pick.

It’s likely that Tavares will spend next season playing abroad.

The Hawks also added Pittsburgh shooting guard Lamar Patterson in a late-night trade with Milwaukee. They sent a future second-round pick to the Bucks to acquire Patterson, who averaged 17.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists as a senior.

Atlanta is coming off a 38-44 record under first-year coach Mike Budenholzer, losing a first-round playoff series in seven games to No. 1 seed Indiana.

The Hawks currently have all five starters - Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, Al Horford, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll - under contract and five other reserves - Lou Williams, Dennis Schroder, Mike Muscala, John Jenkins and Pero Antic - signed through 2014-15.

Ferry told The Associated Press this week that he hopes to re-sign forward Mike Scott and guard Shelvin Mack as restricted free agents.

“We liked our group last year,” he said. “They fit how we want to continue to play with space and pace and ball movement, but we’re always looking for ways to get better.”

The Hawks plan to be aggressive when free agency begins July 1. Though it’s a stretch that Atlanta could sign a superstar like LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony, Ferry will have approximately $10 million in salary cap space to improve the roster.

Story Continues →