Mark Williams hasn’t played as much as some of his fellow first-round picks, so he’s taking advantage of the opportunities the Hornets are giving him in the G League, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Williams was selected 15th overall, but the Hornets view him as a long-term project at center. He’s behind Mason Plumlee and Nick Richards on the depth chart and has logged 13 total minutes in three games, so Williams is focused on making an impact with Greensboro Swarm.
“Go down there, dominate, show the pro that I am and I try to do that,” Williams said. “There’s nothing like playing five-on-five. It’s good to get in a flow, get into rhythm and be able to play, go down and do that. I just got to make the most of the opportunity when I’m out there, just try to work on my game. Work on the defensive principles and stuff like that, so whenever the opportunity comes, I’ll be ready for it.”
Boone points out that Charlotte traditionally has young players work on their skills in the G League, with Richards and Kai Jones as two recent examples. Coach Steve Clifford said it’s beneficial for rookies to play regularly and experience success, and Williams is on board with that philosophy.
“At the end of the day it’s not like when I’m there I can do anything about it,” Williams said. “You’ve just got to make the most of it, turn it into a positive and just go out there and play basketball. It’s definitely great for your confidence, going there, playing there, playing well. It’s definitely great for your confidence to go there and show what you are capable of.”
There’s more from Charlotte:
- The Hornets’ top four guards have all battled injuries this season, so Theo Maledon has been playing more than expected, Boone adds. Maledon signed a two-way contract on October 15, four days after being waived by the Rockets, and is averaging 16.7 minutes in 20 games. “It’s for sure a huge confidence boost,” Maledon said. “Just not being there for preseason and just getting in with the team and just being able to do what I’m doing right now is a great feeling, and I just want it to keep going and have that same mentality for sure.”
- With free agency looming next summer, Kelly Oubre sounds interested in a long-term future in Charlotte. He talked about his love for the city in an appearance on Boone’s podcast. “Just coming from where I’ve been at in my career, just like the ups and downs, the uneasiness, I’ve never been able to find a consistent flow in a city, other than the city I was drafted in because I was there for so long,” Oubre said. “It’s just been amazing, man, to come and play for this city and for this organization.”
- Dennis Smith Jr. will miss his fourth straight game tonight with a sprained left ankle, but he’s no longer wearing a walking boot, Boone tweets.