The Hawks sent 2014 first-round big man Adreian Payne to the D-League on Thursday. Payne will play with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants this weekend in their two games against the Erie BayHawks.
Payne was drafted 15th overall but has yet to play for Atlanta this year, due to injury and the depth the Hawks have at forward and center. He was inactive for the first five games of the season due to plantar fasciitis, an injury that also plagued him at Michigan State. Once healthy, he couldn’t crack the rotation at forward or center, so the D-League should give him the opportunity to test his skills against top competition and prove that his plantar fasciitis has healed.
Budenholzer said before the season that he planned to use the D-League this year, recognizing that the playing time young players receive at that level is crucial to their development.
After their two games against Erie, Fort Wayne doesn’t play again until November 28 and 29, so it remains to be seen whether Payne will stay with the Mad Ants next week or be called back up to the Hawks.