The Hornets were considering three centers heading into Thursday’s draft, but Duke’s Mark Williams was at the top of their list, writes Varun Shankar of The Charlotte Observer. Williams opened eyes with his measurements at the draft combine and will have the longest standing reach in the NBA at 9’9″. General manager Mitch Kupchak likes the idea of Williams catching lob passes from LaMelo Ball, but he said the 20-year-old big man needs to improve as a rebounder and add strength to get ready for the next level.
“He has a lot of work in getting stronger and I don’t have any doubt that he’ll work hard and get in the weight room,” Kupchak said. “He’s a good rebounder, I wouldn’t say that he’s gonna be our rebound monster right now, but I think if he gets stronger, I think he can become an excellent rebounder.”
The Hornets actually drafted Memphis center Jalen Duren first, but he was traded to the Knicks and ultimately to the Pistons. Charlotte received a protected first-round pick and four second-rounders in return, and Kupchak explained that the team wasn’t comfortable adding two more rookies after having three on the roster this season.
“We didn’t feel using both picks was prudent,” he said.
There’s more from Charlotte:
- Kupchak also spoke about Kenny Atkinson‘s decision to reconsider his agreement to become the Hornets’ next head coach, per Steve Reed of The Associated Press. Kupchak has been discussing the situation with owner Michael Jordan and indicated the organization may consider some new possibilities. “We have spent a lot of time going over candidates, maybe some new candidates and making sure we cover our bases,” Kupchak said. “We have never felt the need to rush this process. We want to pick the right coach — and we thought we did.”
- Former Hornets head coach Steve Clifford met with Kupchak and Jordan this week and is now considered to be a serious candidate for the position, sources tell Roderick Boone and Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer. Jordan also met with Mike D’Antoni, who was considered the runner-up when the offer was made to Atkinson.
- Nebraska’s Bryce McGowens, whom Charlotte traded up to draft at No. 40, is likely to be given a two-way contract, Boone tweets.