Duke basketball center nearly helps franchise hit NBA jackpot

Duke basketball center Mark Williams (David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball center Mark Williams (David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports) /

A Duke basketball center nearly helped his NBA franchise hit the jackpot. 

Tuesday night in the NBA was arguably the biggest day of the season and Duke basketball center Mark Williams was nearly the star of the event.

It was NBA Draft Lottery night in Chicago and many experts have called this the most anticipated draft since LeBron James was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers due to the potential of French superstar Victor Wembanyama.

Wembanyama had scouts and front office personnel salivating for over a year and it was finally time for the world to find out who will be selecting him No. 1 overall in June’s draft.

The Charlotte Hornets, who had the fourth best odds of winning the lottery at 12.5-percent, sent former Duke center Mark Williams to represent the organization at the lottery and hoping he could bring luck to have the ping pong balls fall in its favor.

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Williams played in 43 games with the Hornets this season, starting 17, after he was the No. 15 overall pick of last year’s draft.

The ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2022 averaged 9.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game in his rookie season and truly became a force in mid-February when he started receiving consistent minutes.

Duke basketball center left on edge of his seat

Nevertheless, Mark Williams had the Hornets in a perfect position to potentially land the No. 1 overall pick as the franchise clinched a spot inside the Top-4 of the draft order alongside the San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trail Blazers, and Houston Rockets.

Houston received the No. 4 overall pick and Charlotte had the second best odds, only trailing San Antonio, for getting the top selection.

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Portland’s name was called for the No. 3 pick while the Hornets luck ran out one pick shy as the Spurs hit the jackpot and won the  Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes with the No. 1 overall pick.

It’s likely that Charlotte, who is looking for a turnaround season, will either pick Alabama’s Brandon Miller or Scoot Henderson of the G-League Ignite at No. 2 overall.

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