The Charlotte Hornets used the 15th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft to take Mark Williams, who they hope will be the team’s center of the future. They spoke very highly of their views on him as a prospect, and they feel like they have a gem.
However, his path to minutes this season is murky. The team still has established veteran Mason Plumlee, who is expected to start at the five when healthy. Nick Richards has apparently had a good offseason and will likely start the season as the backup five. Kai Jones is lurking in the background as well.
We likely won’t see many meaningful minutes for the Hornets rookie in the early going. He’ll soak up some minutes in garbage time and fill in situationally in times of foul trouble and injuries. The team has hopes that he’ll be a threat from the 3-point line in time, but that probably won’t happen out of the gate. He’ll need to make an impact protecting the rim and deterring opponents from the paint on the defensive end while setting screens and collecting garbage buckets on offense.
So far he’s put up a couple of muted performances in the preseason, but he’s also playing some difficult minutes. He’s playing in fourth quarters with fringe roster players, so it’s hard to get a feel for how well he’d fit in with the regular rotation players.
We probably won’t get a lot of looks at Mark Williams, especially early in the season. He’ll probably spend more of this season in Greensboro, where I’d expect him to block tons of shots and gobble up rebounds. Williams will probably be the team’s long term answer at center, but we probably won’t see much of it this season.