The ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year and a decorated sophomore, Mark Williams had a breakout season at Duke. On the year, he averaged 11.2 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1 APG, 0.5 SPG, 2.8 BPG, and 1 TOPG on shooting splits of 72/0/73. Below is his full scouting report:
Name: Mark Williams
Wingspan/ standing reach: 7’6 ½/9’9
Hand size: 9 ¾
Pre-Draft team: Duke
Tools: Rebounding, energy, interior scoring, P&R roll man, frame
- Plus rebounder
- Good athleticism, especially on the boards
- Plays with tons of energy
- Long, NBA ready frame
- Outstanding roll man in the P&R
- Potential to shoot mid range jumpers
- Good vision and knows where his teammates are
- Can make passes on the move and off of rebounds
- Strong passing instincts
- Struggles at times to defend in isolation
- May have been hidden against P&Rs
- Might get played off the floor in the playoffs
- Doesn’t create his own shot
Mark Williams has a lot of easy paths to success, given his enormous frame; he only needs to get 3 inches off the ground to touch the rim. His frame is best used at the rim on both ends.
Defensively, Williams impacts every shot at the rim, possessing great shot block timing, length to impact shots, strong instincts, and good rotations under the rim. While Williams makes a living at the rim and in general in the paint, the further away he goes from the rim, the more his defense drops off. With mild lateral quickness, Williams can get exposed in the NBA in the P&R. Duke hid this weakness, forcing him into drop coverage (which often meant giving up three pointers to big men) which will not work as often in the NBA, especially in the playoffs. One reason I remain lower on Williams is this switchability factor. Compared to the rest of the big men in this class, Williams has the least mobility among likely top 45 prospects (centers). How he counters this, whether it be by learning how to use his length more on the perimeter or by getting quicker, will be key in his NBA upside.
On the other end at the rim, Williams is an elite P&R roll man. With his size and athleticism, Williams is hard to stop with momentum towards the rim. Dominating the pick & roll will likely be how Williams scores most of his NBA points. In transition, he runs the floor well, which adds an element to his strong finishing ability as an energy big. One area that could be promising for Williams to grow as a scorer is if he can hit mid range jumpers consistently, particularly out of pick & pop situations. Williams only took nine jumpers this season, but made five, and had a 73% success rate at the free throw line with projectable form, indicating slight shooting upside.
Mark Williams stands out as a passer. While I first thought some of his heroic assists were lucky, as I saw more of them, I noticed how repeatable they were, and how his instincts were strong on these plays. For example, notice how quickly Williams notices the open shooter below without even really taking a look.
Some point guards cannot do this, which is a testament to his passing instincts that can only get better in the NBA. Williams should be able to be trusted as a passer, having played high-low sets, passing out of post-ups, and noticing pressure mid-air to find open teammates on the cut and spotting up for 3.
Overall, Mark Williams is going to be a good regular season center that could potentially start on a playoff team in need of a center. One prime example of a team that fits this bill is the Charlotte Hornets, who currently hold the 13th and 15th picks in the draft. How well Williams can play in the playoffs defensively will determine what his overall re-draft value is in the future.
Similar to: Hassan Whiteside, Sam Dalembert, Clint Capela with passing
Projected draft range: 13-20
Expected role: Interior presence on both ends of the floor with passing out of pressure
Unplayable if: Lack of perimeter defense gets exposed consistently; this is generally a playoff threat more than a regular season threat
Exceeds expectations if: Jump shooting evolves, passing translates, and defense is sustainable enough to play meaningful playoffs minutes without being played off the floor.