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2016 NBA Mock Draft: Cheick Diallo lands with Atlanta Hawks in recent projection

NCAA Basketball: UC Irvine at Kansas Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Scouts are all over the place on Cheick Diallo in advance of the 2016 NBA Draft. Some pundits project the former Kansas big man to fall completely out of the first round, while others slot Diallo in the latter stages of the lottery.

Earlier this week, the good folks at split the difference, sending Diallo to the Atlanta Hawks with the number 21 overall pick.

Note: The site changes regularly using the same URL, so we have provided a screenshot below.

This projection isn’t the first time that a mock draft has found a “happy medium” on Diallo, and both ESPN and DraftExpress rank the 6-foot-9 Diallo between 25 and 30 overall in this class. Much of Diallo’s appeal comes from pure upside, as he presents a 7-foot-4 wingspan with nearly a 9-foot standing reach and a 35-inch max vertical leap.

At the same time, Diallo is wildly raw at this stage, to the point where he struggled to garner consistent playing time during one season at Kansas. He looks to be a potentially dominant defensive player using a big-time motor and the aforementioned combination of length and athleticism, but Diallo’s offense is a mystery amid questions about his hands and overall frame.

The Hawks could make (much) safer investments with the number 21 pick, but Cheick Diallo might have the highest ceiling available at this slot and that could be a significant factor. Stay tuned.