The former Duke star is rapidly becoming a high-end big man
Not too long ago, there was a sense that big men were passé in basketball. It wasn’t illogical - when you have guys like Steph Curry and Damian Lillard who can shoot accurately from really far out, you can get by without a classic big man. Certainly Curry's team, the Golden State Warriors, never worried about it, and why would they? The Warriors won four titles with small ball. They had no worries about size.
But as Jay Bilas likes to point out, basketball is still a big man’s game and if you have to choose between a small guy with skills and a big guy with skills, you’re almost always going to go with the bigger guy.
Whatever you feel about that and positionless basketball, big men are making a comeback. Victor Wembanyama has really excited people as has Chet Holmgren. Evan Mobley is promising and down in Orlando, while Paolo Banchero is essentially a point forward, he can play center if needed.
And then there’s Mark Williams.
The former Duke star (and former Banchero teammate) has really come on for Charlotte. In just his second season, Williams has made a name for himself as a classic big man.
Williams is averaging 15.4 ppg, 9.9 boards, 1.1 assists and shooting 72.1 percent from the floor, and on Friday, in the NBA’s in-season tournament, Williams put up 21 points, 24 rebounds and three assists against Washington.
His star is still rising and the Hornets clearly feel they have found a young center they can build around.