When it comes to the Charlotte Hornets, the conversation is usually centered around a few players. LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller have been two of the most talked about players in Charlotte this offseason, but there is one Hornets player who may not be receiving enough attention. Second year big man Mark Williams.
Williams was given a chance to shine during the tail end of a lost season in Charlotte and was able to show why the Hornets were more than comfortable with making him the 15th overall selection in the 2022 NBA Draft. With his performance and the relative lack of attention he has been getting, it is not a surprise to see Williams be named as one of 10 hidden gems by Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes.
"“From Feb. 28 until the end of the 2022-23 season, the 21-year-old averaged 11.5 points and 9.5 rebounds while hitting 61.6 percent of his shots from the field. That he was so productive without Ball, the team’s best facilitator by a mile, suggests even better numbers lie ahead in 2023-24.”"
It is not just the offensive prowess of Williams that has garnered the attention of Hughes, as his ability as a defender is more than worthy of increased attention. Being mentioned in the same sentence as Joel Embiid and Jakob Poelt,l with significantly less experience is nothing to scoff at.
"“If the 2022 No. 15 pick continues to improve as a defender in space, it’ll be much harder for opposing offenses to exploit him. Despite his inexperience, he managed to hold opponents to 62.6 percent shooting inside six feet—not a terrific number for a center, but roughly in line with what Joel Embiid and Jakob Poeltl managed last season.”"
What Williams accomplished at the end of last season as a rookie was impressive, but it is more than fair to wonder if it is repeatable. The Hornets are going to be relatively at full strength to start the year, and it is very possible it takes away from his contributions no the offensive side of the floor. The defensive numbers should hold up, but it is really about finding out how many opportunities will be afforded to him with significantly better offensive options also on the roster.