How Michigan State’s former players fared in the NBA this season

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Apr 10, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Adreian Payne (3) keeps the ball inbounds against Los Angeles Lakers forward Tarik Black (28) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

3. Adreian Payne, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves

Here were come to one of the most beloved Spartans in the history of Michigan State’s basketball program, Adreian Payne. The former MSU big man was one of the rarest talents in last year’s NBA Draft and was chosen as the No. 15 overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks. The rookie didn’t have the start to the season that he would have hoped, but he did finish very strong.

Payne was rare in the way that he played the game as well as the fact that he stayed at MSU for four years, unlike many top talents nowadays. Adreian was a role model, as evidenced by the whole Lacey Holsworth story, and he always had the crowd jumping out of their Breslin Center seats with huge dunks and devastating blocks.

Payne began the season with the Atlanta Hawks, who finished with the best record in the East, before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who had the worst record in the NBA, because Atlanta couldn’t find a spot for him in the rotation.

That couldn’t have worked out better for Adreian as he came alive with the T-Wolves, averaging 7.2 points and 5.4 rebounds in 25 minutes per contest. He was given a serious role with the team and will have an opportunity to learn under Timberwolves great Kevin Garnett for at least one more year.

Don’t be surprised if you hear Payne’s named mentioned as one of the NBA All-Stars within the next couple of years.

Yes, sometimes he looks lost on the court, but his talent is immeasurable.

Next: Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies

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