NBA Draft: Grading every first-round pick after rookie year

2022 NBA Draft Class. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images
2022 NBA Draft Class. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images /
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NBA Draft
Mark Williams, Charlotte Hornets, Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports /

15. Charlotte Hornets – Mark Williams, Duke

The Charlotte Hornets were going to draft a center. That was the intel leading up to the draft for weeks, and it would have been a shock to see the Hornets do anything else. True to form, the team came through and took Duke center Mark Williams with the 15th pick.

Williams was a defensive anchor for the Blue Devils en route to a Final Four run in Williams’ sophomore season, and that is where he will butter his bread in the NBA. True to form, after early-season injuries and Charlotte’s weird commitment to Mason Plumlee phased out, Williams showed some strong defensive chops during the second half of the season.

More surprising was his offensive repertoire, as Williams was dynamic as a roller and finisher at the rim, shooting 63.7 percent from the field for the season. He was also an excellent rebounder, essentially filling perfectly the role he will play in the league for the next decade. The Hornets get dinged slightly here because Walker Kessler looks like the better center prospect, but Williams should be a long-term starter for them.

Grade: B