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2016 NBA Mock Draft: Chad Ford projects Indiana center Thomas Bryant to the Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks pick up an intriguing center prospect in the most recent ESPN mock draft.

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The 2015-2016 season is still very much alive for the Atlanta Hawks, but that won't stop us from looking ahead to the 2016 NBA Draft. Chad Ford of ESPN is one of the more prominent names in the draft industry, and he released an updated mock (version 5.1) on Monday after the announcement that high school big man Thon Maker is entering this year's draft.

The Hawks do not end up with Maker (who was taken the pick before by the Celtics) in this projection, but Ford sends Indiana center Thomas Bryant to Atlanta with the 24th pick. Obviously, this is way too early to expect any level of accuracy, and Atlanta's draft spot may shift in the coming days either way. Still, this is an intriguing pairing for both sides.

Of course, Ford zooms to point out that "the Hawks need size" in his write-up, which is certainly a point of contention depending on the team's free agent decisions. However, Bryant's youth (he is a freshman), athleticism and size would be interesting in Mike Budenholzer's system, and the 6-foot-11 big man can already shoot to some extent from the perimeter. He was also a productive player, averaging 11.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in only 22.6 minutes during his only season in Bloomington.

Many players will be linked to the Hawks in the coming days, but as the 2015-2016 continues to battle for playoff positioning, fans and the front office can peak ahead a bit in search of the next wave of talent for the organization.