Malachi Richardson has been a lightning rod for discussion when it comes to the 2016 NBA Draft, and a recent mock draft projects him to land with the Atlanta Hawks. Aaron Torres of FOX Sports released his most recent projection on Wednesday, and he is a believer in Richardson's upside to the point where he penned this when associating the Syracuse swingman with the Hawks at number 21 overall.
At this point, the question isn't whether Richardson is the "right fit" in Atlanta, but whether the fast-rising former Syracuse forward will last this long in the draft. If he does, he's a steal for Atlanta. As I said on lottery night, he has "future star player" written all over him, on a team that desperately needs a star player.
Torres isn't the only one that remains high on Richardson, as the 6-foot-6 wing has been shooting up draft boards in advance of June 23. Whether he is a "future star player" (and the notion that Atlanta doesn't have one is... something) remains to be seen, but Richardson does have considerable upside due to his athletic profile (7-foot wingspan with explosive leaping ability and range) and his ability to score in bunches.
However, there are massive drawbacks when it comes to his game. At 20 years old, Richardson is (much) older than most players that fall into the "one and done" category, and he was inconsistent at best during his time on campus at Syracuse. For the season, Richardson uncorked more turnovers than assists, and when his jump shot wasn't falling (36.9% from the field), the results were often ugly.
It would be very difficult to find a player that requires more projection and development to earn a first-round grade than Malachi Richardson, but mock drafts continue to fall in love with that considerable ceiling.