NBA Mock Draft 2013: NBA.com projects Dario Saric, Gorgui Dieng to the Hawks

Streeter Lecka

Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com projects 6-10 Dario Saric and Louisville big man Gorgui Dieng to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the NBA Draft.

Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com's latest mock drafthas the Atlanta Hawks and Danny Ferry looking for size in the upcoming 2013 Draft. With the No. 17 pick, Howard Cooper projects Atlanta to take 6-10 small forward Dario Saric from Croatia. We previously briefly discussed Saric and it looked for a moment that he might pull out of the draft all together. Saric is a guy that with some strong individual workouts that could see his name moving up the draft boards.

An apparent change of heart after initially saying he would stay in Europe puts the Toni Kukoc-like small forward with a great feel for the game back into lottery contention.

Saric's high basketball IQ is regarded as one of his biggest strengths and Toni Kukoc is a player that he is often compared with. DraftExpress recently did a three part video interview with Saric.

With the No. 18 pick in the draft, Howard-Cooper has the Hawks going with Louisville center Gorgui Dieng.

The run of backup centers begins. Dieng's size and mobility translate into a future as a shot blocker, with signs of a respectable offense. Being 23 years old is a drawback, giving him fewer years to develop and play.

Dieng measured out at the combine at just under 6-11 in shoes and 230 pounds. He has good athleticism to go along with his size and played a key part in Louisville's run to the National Championship. He averaged 9.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks as a junior. At 23 years of age he is a little older than some of the other prospects but still projects to be a serviceable NBA big. Here is DraftExpress' combine interview with Dieng:

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