In the near future, 2018 NBA mock drafts will go quiet for a few months as the college basketball season rapidly approaches. However, ESPN released its first mock draft last week and, now, Gary Parrish of CBS Sports weighs in on what the first round might look like in June.
Obviously, it is far too early to get carried away with specifics but the SportsLine projection model (which Parrish based his draft order on) pegged the Hawks at No. 6 overall. From that point, Atlanta ended up with Michigan State forward Miles Bridges.
Bridges was the highest-rated college prospect to return to school, and I'm betting he improves his stock because of it. The combo-forward should lead Michigan State to a Big Ten title and could, along the way, earn National Player of the Year honors. He is, I think, the preseason favorite for that award.
Bridges could easily slide into the top five of the 2018 draft and he is the best rising sophomore in the country. Last season, the talented prospect averaged 16.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in East Lansing and it was a pretty significant surprise when Bridges elected to return to school.
If the Hawks were slip into the No. 6 spot, Bridges would be a very nice prize for the future and the rest of the mock draft also falls into place for Atlanta. For starters, the Hawks ended up with both of their potential 2018 picks via trade, with the Minnesota Timberwolves landing at No. 23 and the Houston Rockets landing at No. 29.
With the No. 23 pick, the Hawks were projected to select Kentucky’s Jarred Vanderbilt, who is an incoming freshman this season. The 6’9 forward is a consensus top-15 recruit nationally and, quite obviously, very talented as a result.
Atlanta’s final pick was Vince Edwards of Purdue, who has knocked down more than 40 percent of his three-point attempts over the last two seasons at the college level. He would certainly be a (relatively) low upside choice but, at the end of the first round, projected role players are perfectly fine selections and he fits that bill.
The headliner is Miles Bridges and, while he doesn’t necessarily possess the upside of Marvin Bagley III, Luka Doncic, DeAndre Ayton or Michael Porter Jr., the Michigan State star would look very good in an Atlanta Hawks uniform. Stay tuned.