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2022 NBA Draft Profile: Mark Williams provides so much of what the Mavericks are looking for

Is the Duke big man worth trading up for?

North Carolina v Duke Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Duke Center Mark Williams is one of the most fun prospects to look at ahead of the 2022 NBA Draft. After a so-so freshman season, Williams improved all around the board and made a name for himself during his sophomore year. How do the Dallas Mavericks factor into this conversation? Let’s get into it.

The Specs

Height: 7’2”

Weight: 242 lbs

Wingspan: 7’6.5”

Standing reach: 9’9”

Key Notes

Offense

  • Powerful dunker
  • Lob threat
  • Soft touch
  • Not much range (yet)

Defense

  • Incredible shot blocker
  • Great timing around the rim
  • Solid rebounder
  • Needs to add some weight

Player Comparisons

If everything goes right: Deandre Ayton with better defense

If everything goes wrong: Current JaVale McGee

Most realistic outcome: Rob Williams with better touch

Stats and Accomplishments

2021-22 ACC All-Defense

2021-22 ACC Defensive Player of the Year

2022 NCAA Tournament All-Region

Best Games of Last Season

vs. NCST

19 points, 11 rebounds, 8 blocks, 9-12 FG, 27 minutes

vs. Gonzaga

17 points, 9 rebounds, 6 blocks, 8-9 FG, 28 minutes

@ Syracuse

28 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, 11-14 FG, 27 minutes

Three Key Things

1. Shot blocking

If you’re looking for rim protection, Mark Williams is the guy for you. His measurables are insane (height, wingspan, standing reach) and his defensive instincts are top-notch. The Dallas Mavericks are a team that’s in need of rim protection.

Williams averaged 2.8 blocks per game but less than 24 minutes per game. That means he was swatting an absurd seven blocks per 100 possessions.

2. Lob threat

Mavericks fans have been clamoring for a lob threat to pair next to Luka Doncic. No matter how hard they try to make him that guy, Dwight Powell just isn’t that guy. Williams could be, though.

He’s a high-IQ player who has a good sense for where and when to position himself around the rim. A guy like Luka would unlock Mark Williams’ potential as a roll-man and lob threat.

3. Soft touch

Mark Williams isn’t the kind of guy that’s going to kill you with a jump shot. He doesn’t have a three ball yet. But his touch is nice. He’s the kind of guy that could easily develop a solid jumper with NBA coaching and reps.

Plus, he’s hown improvement in his shot. For proof, just look at his free-throw percentages from his freshman and sophomore years at Duke.

Freshman year: 53.7%

Sophomore year: 72.7%

The Checklist

Role with Mavericks

If Mark Williams found his way to the Dallas Mavericks, it’s likely he’d play meaningful minutes right away (depending on what the Mavs do in free agency or in the trade market). I have confidence that after 15-20 games to get his footing, Williams would be a better option than Dwight Powell at the five.

Summary

Ultimately, it’s highly unlikely that the Mavs will end up with Mark Williams. They’d probably have to trade up into the lottery to get him, and even then, who knows what team might reach for him higher than he’s mocked. But, the Mavs do need a big man, and if they decided Williams was their guy, I wouldn’t be disappointed.

I’m at the point where I’d rather have a rookie rim-runner than an overpaid one.