ESPN.com's Chad Ford has updated his mock draft and still has the Atlanta Hawks going big with the No. 17 pick but this time its not Duke center Mason Plumlee who is the target. This time Ford has the Hawks selecting 7-2 center Rudy Gobert out of France who admittedly is a project still at this point.
Roy Hibbert's stellar performance in the NBA Eastern Conference finals helps a player such as Gobert. Yes, Gobert will be drafted largely on sheer size. He doesn't have a great motor yet nor does he know what he's doing. But you can't teach 7-foot-2. With the Hawks in the process of clearing the deck in Atlanta, I'm not sure they can pass on him. However, he's a major work in progress.
Its interesting that Ford mentions Roy Hibbert because my initial thoughts about Gobert were that he would likely get picked much higher than he probably should just because of his sheer size. He is still relatively light at 238 pounds but his lengthy wingspan and a standing reach of 9-foot-7 can make you overlook that. He is just 20 years old and looks like he could use some more seasoning overseas but has showed an interest in coming over next season. Will be interesting to see what the Hawks do if presented with this option but I think there is still a chance that Gobert is off the board before the Hawks pick.
Interestingly Ford has big men Plumlee, Kelly Olynyk, Gorgui Dieng, Jeff Withey and Lucas Noguiera all available at No 17 for the Hawks. Here is a look at Gobert's DraftExpress scouting profile:
At No 18 Ford again projects Jamaal Franklin out of San Diego State to the Hawks. We've discussed Franklin before and he seems to be the type of player that Mike Budenholzer may be looking for. Still he is more of a guard than a small forward and with Lou Williams and John Jenkins already on the roster the Hawks could decide to look in a different direction.