2014 NBA Draft: Atlanta Hawks Interested In Elfrid Payton?

By Andrew Shaw
Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2014 NBA Draft right around the corner and the NBA Draft Combine completed, teams are now starting to set up meetings for players they might potentially be taking. One such player who has met with a number of potential suitors is Elfrid Payton out of Louisiana-Lafayette. The young point guard didn’t get a lot of recognition at the college level, but that didn’t make teams such as the Atlanta Hawks shy away from targeting him.

Atlanta would love to have Payton join their team. The only problem is: where do the Hawks select him? I don’t think he is worthy of their first round pick at No.15, so I’m guessing they are hoping he falls to them in the second round. Otherwise, this move would not make much sense. Atlanta has a number of capable point guards on the roster already, and there is no way someone like Shelvin Mack or Dennis Schroder will get replaced by Payton. The Hawks need to target another big man or shooter in the first round, and he fits neither of those.

However, if he were to fall to the Hawks with their second round pick, he could potentially be the steal of the draft. Right now, the young point guard is projected to go anywhere from late in the first round to early in the second and Atlanta will be hoping for the latter. Payton would be an excellent addition given his track record in college. He averaged 19.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game this season, which is very good for a guy who’s not necessarily known for his offense.

For the Hawks, the offense might just be a bonus because they are probably more intrigued by what he brings to the table on defense. Payton was arguably one of the best defenders in college. He managed to record an impressive 2.3 steals per game with the Ragin’ Cajuns and that was lower than his average last year. Not to mention he constantly matched up against the opposing team’s best player, yet could still shut them down despite being a 6-foot-3 point guard. Atlanta needs another premier defender to go alongside DeMarre Carroll as well, and Payton would be the perfect option to fix this need in the second round.

Andrew Shaw is an Atlanta Hawks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @AShaw003, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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