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Hornets trade 13th pick to Detroit, select Duke center Mark Williams with 15th pick

Williams, a 7-foot center, was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year last season.
Mark Williams, right, is congratulated by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected the...
Mark Williams, right, is congratulated by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 23, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)(John Minchillo | AP)
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 9:42 PM EDT
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BROOKLYN, N.Y. (WBTV) - The Charlotte Hornets had quite a busy night with their two lottery picks in the 2022 NBA Draft.

After trading away their 13th overall pick, the Hornets selected Duke center Mark Williams with the 15th overall pick of the draft.

Charlotte first selected Memphis center Jalen Duren at No. 13 before sending him to the New York Knicks. The Knicks then sent Duren and former Hornets point guard Kemba Walker to the Detroit Pistons for a first-round pick and Detroit sent Charlotte the Nuggets 2023 first-round draft pick and four future second-round picks.

The Hornets then used their second draft selection at No. 15 to pick Williams.

“It’s an area we need help in,” Hornets general manager said. “We know he’s a great kid and we know he works hard. He gives us size, rim protection, and can rebound the ball.”

Related: Magic take Duke’s Paolo Banchero with 1st pick in NBA draft

With Charlotte entering the night desperately needing a big man, many fans on social media were surprised when Duren, who was arguably the best center in the draft, was traded away. Instead, the Hornets went with Williams, a 7-foot-1 center who was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year last season.

Williams spent two seasons with the Blue Devils, starting 15 games as a freshman before breaking out his sophomore year by averaging 11.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 39 games played. He shot 72 percent from the field and helped lead Duke to the Final Four. He blocked 110 shots and led college basketball in dunks with 97 last year.

The Virginia native was a five-star prospect coming out of high school and should provide Charlotte with much-needed post defense and rebounding alongside all-star LaMelo Ball.

“Obviously LaMelo is a great player,” Williams said. “To have him on my team and make my life a little easier, hopefully on the defensive end I can make his life a little easier. I can’t wait to play with him and I can’t wait to get there.”

Related: Kenny Atkinson backs out of Charlotte Hornets head-coaching job, report says

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