5 Sleeper sophomore breakout candidates for the 2023-24 NBA season

PORTLAND, OREGON - JANUARY 30 (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)
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CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – DECEMBER 31 (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

NBA sophomore breakout candidate – Mark Williams, Charlotte Hornets

The Charlotte Hornets have been looking for a long-term answer at the center position for quite a long time. Mark Williams, the 15th selection in the 2022 NBA Draft, seems like he may be the one to take the reigns next, as he certainly put some interesting film on tape last season, especially after the Hornets traded Mason Plumlee to the LA Clippers at the NBA trade deadline.

In 14 games following the All-Star break, Williams looked great, having averaged a double-double with 11.9 points and 10.1 rebounds in 26.2 minutes per contest. The 7-foot-1 center has a knack for scoring close to the hoop while rebounding the ball at a very high level. With an expanded role from the jump this coming season, he could continue to build off his strong finish last year.

Williams, 21, is still pretty raw as a player, but the glimpses he’s shown suggest that he could be a long-term option for a young team looking to take the next step. As the Hornets aim to rebound to get back into the postseason, a breakout season from Williams could go a long way. Alongside an All-Star talent like LaMelo Ball, a big year could be on the horizon for Williams.