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DRAFT WATCH #1: Hamidou Diallo, Chandler Hutchison linked to Nets

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NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time again, time to scan the mock drafts ... and this season, Nets fans know their team will have at least two picks, one each in the first round (the Raptors pick) and in the second (the worse of the Magic and Lakers picks). The Nets also have $5.1 million to spend on the Draft ... and Sean Marks record of making deals on Draft Night, like sending Brook Lopez to L.A. for D’Angelo Russell or paying $1 million to move up to take Isaiah Whitehead.

Here are the latest projections, arranged randomly for now. Where there are commentaries, we’ve included them. Where there are second round projections, we’ve included them. Hamidou Diallo, the kid from Queens who the Nets scouted last year, is linked to the Nets by ESPN and Tankathon. Chandler Hutchison of Boise State, who the Nets have scouted extensively, is Bleacher Report’s choice for the Nets, but he is moving up fast.

The Athletic

Kaita Bates-Diop, 6’7” Forward, Ohio State, junior

Another big-time riser, Bates-Diop is arguably the best player in the Big Ten this season. He’s averaging 20 points and more than eight rebounds while hitting 52 percent from the field, 38 percent from 3 and 82 percent from the line. He put on an absolute show Sunday against the best defensive frontcourt in the country in Michigan State, scoring 32 points. Bates-Diop has risen into the first round, and the Nets under Kenny Atkinson know how to utilize shooting forwards better than just about any team in the league. This one just fits perfectly.

Killian Tillie — 6-10, 215 pounds; Gonzaga, Sophomore

I personally have Tillie higher on my board than this. He’s possibly the highest-IQ big in this class, an absolutely terrific defender both on the perimeter and at the rim who can also pass the heck out of the ball and knock down shots from 3. That’s the perfect player for anyone, but particularly for what Kenny Atkinson wants from bigs.

Tankathon

Hamidou Diallo, 6’5” guard, Kentucky, Sophomore

Ray Spalding, 6’10” power forward, Louisville, Junior

ESPN

Hamidou Diallo, 6’5” guard, Kentucky, Sophomore

The Nets were reportedly looking to lock down Diallo at the NBA draft early-entry withdrawal deadline last year, but they ultimately traded the pick after he elected to return to Kentucky.

Diallo’s stock has stagnated somewhat as he hasn’t made the type of progress scouts were hoping to see with his feel for the game or skill level. Still, he’s one of the best athletes in the draft and could very well continue to improve with the right skill-development coaching, as he’s very young and reportedly has a strong work ethic.

Devonte’ Graham, 6’3” point guard, Kansas, Senior

NBADraft.net

Austin Wiley, 6’11” center, Auburn, sophomore

Measured 6’8, 230 lbs with a 7’1 wingspan at the 2014 Nike Elite 100 ... Measured 6’7.5 without shoes, 6’8.5 with shoes, 233 lbs, with a 7’3 wingspan and 9’1.5 standing reach at the 2014 USA Junior National Team Mini Camp ... Measured 6’9.5 without shoes, 6’11 with shoes, 250 lbs, with a 7’5 wingspan and 9’1 standing reach at the June 2017 USA U19 tryouts.

Aaron Holiday, 6’1” point guard, UCLA, junior

Measured 6’1 (in shoes) 187 lbs, with a 6’6 wingspan at the 2014 Nike Guard Skills Academy

Bleacher Report

Chandler Hutchison, 6’7” shooting guard, Boise State, junior

Arguably the biggest riser of 2018, Chandler Hutchison could start to draw attention much earlier than No. 28. Questions over his shooting may give the Brooklyn Nets a chance, though.

This late, the jumper would be worth gambling on for any team, particularly the Nets, who lack scoring weapons on the wing.

An athletic 6’7” wing who can be moved around the lineup, Hutchison is averaging 20.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and a career-high 1.4 threes per game. Even if he never develops into a marksman from outside, he should still be able to generate offense as a driver and secondary playmaker.

Sports Illustrated

Rawle Alkins, 6’5” small forward, Arizona, sophomore

Alkins has given Arizona a major boost upon returning from a foot fracture, and the team is 6–1 since his return after an uneven start to the season. His consistent energy on both ends of the floor and well-built frame project well at the next level. He’s able to attack the basket, finish around the rim, handle contact and make plays for others. He’s become a solid defender, and should be able to handle larger wings thanks to his natural strength. Alkins has a good set of strengths, strong intangibles and enough physical ability to warrant looks in the late first round.

Jalen Brunson, 6’3” point guard, Villanova, sophomore

It‘s probably time to stop doubting Brunson, who’s the driving force behind perhaps the best team in the country. He’s ready to help a team in the NBA sooner than later, with an elite feel for the game and how to run an offense and get teammates involved. He relies on his considerable craft to compensate for a lack of top-flight quickness. The son of former NBA guard and current Timberwolves assistant Rick Brunson, Jalen grew up around the league and fills all the right criteria when it comes to his makeup. He’s in position to carve out a long career.