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NBA Draft: Obscenely early look at 2018 for the Atlanta Hawks

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This is silly and useless BUT it’s also fun.

NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 NBA Draft is (finally) over and the next step of the offseason is the free agent period beginning on July 1. The Atlanta Hawks are wildly intriguing on a number of levels, especially with regard to Paul Millsap, and it is nearly impossible to project what Travis Schlenk and company will do.

The purpose of this post, though, is far more casual and off-the-wall in that 2018 NBA Mock Drafts are out. This is, of course, a preposterous exercise 12 months in advance but, as long as you understand that, it can also be quite entertaining.

With that as the backdrop, let’s roll through a few projections for the Hawks could do, with the understanding that Atlanta’s draft position is (again) very fluid for 2018 and beyond.

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports paints a very rosy picture in that Michigan State forward Miles Bridges is pegged to Atlanta.

Bridges was the highest-rated college prospect to return to school, and I'm betting he improves his stock because of it. Plus, he could lead Michigan State to a Big Ten title -- and possibly a national title -- before becoming a lottery pick.

Reid Forgrave of CBS Sports projects Texas A&M big man Robert Williams, who likely would have been a lottery pick in the 2017 draft had he chosen to leave the Aggies early.

Williams may have been a lottery pick in 2017 had he opted to leave school, based solely on his ridiculous size and athleticism. An incredible upside.

Chris Stone of The Step Back sends Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo (who was linked to Atlanta at times during the 2017 process) to the Hawks and he went deeper into the youngster’s profile.

Diallo remains a bit of a mystery with only his high school performance and Combine measurements for NBA teams to rely on. At the NBA Draft Combine, he checked all of the boxes. Measuring 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, he has excellent size to play the shooting guard spot. That length combined with his elite athleticism — his 44.5-inch vertical was the best mark at the event — give him the potential to be a multi-position defender at the next level.

Diallo still needs to unlock more of his offensive potential, though. He struggled to shoot it both from the foul line and from behind the 3-point arc in high school, which will make it tough to keep him on the floor in important situations where teams can simply scheme against him. However, he’s a monster in transition and can get to the rack in straight line drives in the halfcourt. There’s potential here, but Diallo remains a bit of a canvas that still needs plenty of paint.

Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead landed on USC big man Chimezie Metu with this explanation.

If he’s your center, he’s blocking shots and defending and setting screens as a rim roller. A more polished Clint Capela?

For good measure, the good folks at NBADraft.net went with Brandon McCoy, a big man from UNLV that would be a one and done player.

This is silly exercise that should not be taken seriously in any way, shape or form. Sports are fun. Let’s talk sports.