Deyonta Davis isn't supposed to be available when the Atlanta Hawks make their first selection in the 2016 NBA Draft. The talented big man from Michigan State is projected virtually across the board as a top-15 pick, and he falls comfortably inside the top 20 of the 2016 class according to DraftExpress, ESPN and CBS Sports rankings.
However, Kevin O'Connor of SB Nation (and DraftExpress and Sporting News) released his latest mock draft on Wednesday afternoon and he paired Davis with the Hawks at number 21 overall. To be fair, O'Connor posited that Davis "slips a little bit" in his version of the draft order, but also that the 6-foot-11 frontcourt option would provide Atlanta with "a potential rim protector on a rookie contract".
This is, in all likelihood, a pipe dream for the Hawks unless the team elects to trade up on Thursday evening (to the point where we did not even include Davis on our "targets" list), but it would be a lot of fun to see Davis in an Atlanta uniform. Unlike many of the big men in this class, Davis combines high-end athleticism and length (7-foot-3 wingspan) with a nice shooting stroke and strong projections as a rebounder and rim protector.
Davis did not explode in terms of box score statistics during his time at Michigan State, averaging just 7.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game, but that was more a product of limited playing time (18.8 minutes per contest) than anything else. While the 19-year-old probably would not be able to make an impact immediately in Atlanta, Davis projects as a long-term center that could also provide versatility in his ability to play power forward, and the skill set would theoretically play quite well in Mike Budenholzer's system on both ends.
Deyonta Davis probably isn't falling to number 21 when the NBA Draft happens later this week, but if he's there, the Hawks would be wise to jump on the opportunity.