With the 14th pick in the draft, the Charlotte Hornets select Duke’s Mark Williams to round out the lottery.
In the first version of our mock draft, we had the Hornets passing up on true rim protectors like Williams or Walker Kessler in favor of Tari Eason. In this mock draft, however, Eason is already off the board and Williams may have played himself back into lottery conversations. He was one of Duke’s standout performers in their NCAA Tournament run having shot an absurd 81% from the field in their five tournament games.
Duke’s season had its ups and downs, but if anything worked well for the team, it was the dynamic between Williams and Banchero in the frontcourt. Williams is likely the best rim protector in his draft class not named Chet Holmgren or Walker Kessler, sets good screens on offense, and is a frighteningly strong finisher above the rim. He racked up 10 double-doubles on the season including his tournament games and had a near-triple-double with eight blocks against North Carolina State this past January.
His swing skill at the next level will undoubtedly be his jump shot. While I’m not sure that it will ever be something he can pull out of his bag on a regular basis, he’s shown some very convincing flashes of good touch in the midrange, including a Dirk Nowitzki-like baseline fadeaway. If he can develop anything even remotely close to that at the next level, Williams will be well worth a late lottery pick.