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NBA Mock Draft 2018: ESPN pairs Aaron Holiday, Jacob Evans with Atlanta Hawks

With two weeks until draft day, the worldwide leader weighs in.

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 NBA Draft is two weeks away. That reality means that everything will be intensifying in the coming days and that is especially true when it comes to speculation on what the Atlanta Hawks might do with the No. 3 overall pick.

However, Jonathan Givony of ESPN released an updated mock draft on Thursday morning and, over the past week-plus, nothing has changed in his mind with regard to the No. 3 pick and Atlanta’s choice. The worldwide leader made waves in projecting Jaren Jackson Jr. to Atlanta with Luka Doncic still on the board and, in this edition, the same feeling exists with a note that “it’s somewhat of a surprising outcome to see Doncic fall to No. 4, but that seems to be the way things are shaking out at the moment.”

At any rate, the rest of this particular edition is quite interesting for the Hawks and it begins with UCLA guard Aaron Holiday (full scouting report here) being selected with the No. 19 pick.

Dennis Schroder might not be in Atlanta’s long-term plans, he and reportedly wouldn’t mind being moved to avoid a long-term rebuilding effort.

Holiday had an outstanding junior season and he would bring a number of attractive traits with his microwave scoring ability, long wingspan and toughness.

It is no secret that the Hawks could be in the market for point guard help and, after the lottery trio of Trae Young, Collin Sexton and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, it would be reasonable to argue Holiday as the No. 4 overall player at the position. His physical profile is intriguing and, after a highly productive season at UCLA, Holiday should certainly be in the mix for Atlanta, both at No. 19 and, if he is available, at No. 30 overall.

Later, the Hawks use their No. 30 and No. 34 selections on Cincinnati wing Jacob Evans (full scouting report here) and high school guard Anfernee Simons (full scouting report here). Givony had the following to say about the Evans pairing:

The Hawks are still figuring out their wing rotation long-term and could look to bolster that spot with additional depth.

Evans is an ultra-versatile player who guards all over the floor, played on and off the ball for Cincinnati and sports a career 38 percent mark from 3-point territory at the college level.

Evans wouldn’t be the sexiest pick but he is more than worthy of a late-first round investment as a two-way wing in a league that needs more players with his skill set. Beyond that, Atlanta would be wise to add a wing at some stage in this class and, given the rest of the quartet, Evans is the one.

Finally, Simons gets the nod at No. 34 and there is an increasing feeling that he could slip a bit from initial projections. Along with Mitchell Robinson, Simons likely benefits from “mystery man” status, having never played in college, and he is a tremendous upside play with the potential for lead guard offensive skills and high-end athleticism. In the same breath, he is definitely a project and teams in rebuilding mode (like Atlanta) would have incentive to be patient with Simons in a way that others would not.

Stay tuned.