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2016 NBA Mock Draft: Chad Ford projects Malachi Richardson to the Atlanta Hawks

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ESPN.com's Chad Ford projects Syracuse guard Malachi Richardson to the Atlanta Hawks in his latest updated mock draft

NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal - Syracuse v North Carolina Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

ESPN.com's Chad Ford released an updated mock draft on Friday and projects Syracuse freshman guard Malachi Richardson to the Atlanta Hawks with the 21st pick in the first round. Ford notes that picking Richardson would be an upside play by the Hawks and that might not be a bad thing considering the talent expected to be available at the end of the first round.

Richardson would be a major upside play for the Hawks.

With a 7-foot wingspan, the ability to shoot the 3 and a quick first step that gets him to the rim, he could become a backcourt upgrade eventually for Atlanta.

Richardson is a 6'6 shooting guard with a 7-foot wingspan. Coincidentally, Richardson was in Atlanta for a workout on Thursday.

DraftExpress ranks Richardson No. 37 in their Top 100 prospects and writes that many draft experts are torn on how high Richardson should be picked in the upcoming draft.

Richardson is one of the more hotly debated prospects in this draft among NBA scouts, as opinions range wildly regarding where he should be picked. His supporters point to the difficulties all NBA teams are finding currently in acquiring shot-making wing players with length who can also create their own offense, and think their coaching staff can tone down the freshman's fearless style with their player development system. His detractors are turned off by his extreme inefficiency and poor all-around productivity (14.6 PER), wondering if he's athletic enough to play as selfishly as he often does. They'll also point to the fact that he is older than many of the sophomores expected to be drafted next month, and is only six months younger than one even junior in Damian Jones.