Hawks first-round draft pick Adreian Payne has yet to appear in a game this season. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM
Photo: Curtis Compton
Photo: Curtis Compton

Hawks assign Payne to D-League

The Hawks sent Adreian Payne to the NBA Development League Thursday. The first-round pick is expected to play in weekend games with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Fort Wayne plays games at Erie Friday and Saturday night. The Hawks want Payne to play in at least the two games. Fort Wayne is not scheduled to play again until Nov. 28 and 29.

Payne has not played this season. He has been on the inactive list in nine of the Hawks’ 10 games. He missed the first five of the games with plantar fasciitis in this left foot.

The Hawks selected Payne with the 15th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. The forward/center has been stuck behind Al Horford, Pero Antic, Mike Muscala and Elton Brand on the 15-man roster.

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this season that he expected to use the D-League.

“It’s hard to say right now but I think what I’m very comfortable saying is I do believe in the D-League,” Budenholzer said when asked about the possibility of assigning players. “I believe in taking advantage of opportunities. Young players need to play. If we can play them in our games, that’s probably better but it’s hard to get everybody in. We have a lot of good choices, a lot of good options. If the time is right and it’s appropriate, I very much believe in the D-League.”

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