Nets Linked to Collegiate Defensive Player of the Year in Latest Mock Draft

Mark Williams of Duke was connected to the Brooklyn Nets in a recent NBA Mock Draft.

Getty Mark Williams of Duke was connected to the Brooklyn Nets in a recent NBA Mock Draft.

The Brooklyn Nets will need to find cheap ways to improve this summer. Their core of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons is set to make roughly $94 million combined next season. Tack on Joe Harris’ $18.6 million, and that’s over $110 million tied up in three players.

While the Nets will have the mid-level exception at their disposal, another cheap way to improve is through the NBA Draft. Brooklyn snagged Cameron Thomas and Kessler Edwards in the draft last year, and both have shown promise as potential rotation pieces. This year, they hold the 23rd pick in the first round, and a recent mock draft saw them snag some big man help.

Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report released an NBA Mock Draft on May 28 in which he had the Nets selecting Duke big man Mark Williams. The 7’0 center has been commonly seen as a late-lottery selection, but recent mocks have had him slipping in the ranks.

It’s very possible that Williams could have been selected by the time the 23rd pick rolls around, but if he’s available, Buckley thinks the Nets may jump on the opportunity to select him.


Nets Could ‘Race to the Podium’ For Williams

In his explanation, Buckley admitted the possibility of Williams being off the board at 23. However, he likes Williams’ fit in Brooklyn and believes the Nets would love to pick him up at this spot.

“If the Nets keep this pick—they can defer and get Philly’s 2023 first-rounder instead—they might race to the podium if Williams is still on the board,” Buckley explained. “Bolstered by athleticism and a towering 9’9″ standing reach, he could be an impact rim-runner right away.”

Buckley’s first point about the Nets deferring their selection could become a reality, though. Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice reported that the Nets could choose to take the Philadelphia 76ers’ pick next year instead of selecting in this year’s draft.

“Just over a week out from the deadline, I’ve been told it’s relatively likely the Nets will opt to defer that pick to next season, a big enough chance that the Sixers are actively preparing to be armed with that chip this summer,” Neubeck reported.

If the Nets end up making this decision, drafting Williams would no longer be a possibility. However, if they do opt to keep their pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Williams would give them a great presence down low.


Williams’ Potential Fit in Brooklyn

As noted by Buckley, Williams is already an elite rim-running presence. His giant frame and freakish athleticism would make him an easy lob target for Irving and the rest of Brooklyn’s point guards to locate in the pick-and-roll.

In his final season at Duke, Williams averaged 11.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 0.9 assists, and 2.8 blocks per game on 72.1% shooting from the floor. His innate shot-blocking ability would also be useful for the Nets, who have struggled on the defensive side of the floor in the past. Williams was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year at the end of the season.

Basketball News listed Williams as “one of the best shot blockers and inside scorers in the country,” making him the perfect fit on a Nets team that will be desperately searching for an interior presence this summer.

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Greg Abdul
Greg Abdul
1 month ago

what happens to Clax, Day’Ron and Drum? Last year, we had too many Bigs and under 6’3 players. We need versatile wings who can D and shoot the three. LA is already off the boat because there is no space and this guy would just be more overkill at a spot where we don’t need help.

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