2022 NBA Mock Draft 1.0: Who will shine during March Madness?

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 15
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports /

Walker Kessler. 14. player. 170. . Center. Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets have pushed towards playoff contention despite playing a lot of minutes with a small ball frontcourt. The 6-foot-6 Miles Bridges has played roughly 70 percent of his minutes as a 4 and the 6-foot-7 P.J. Washington has played more than half his minutes at the 5, with Miles Plumlee as the only traditional center in the regular rotation. It’s a formula that’s worked for them but the lack of a traditional big man has been a limiting factor, particularly on defense.

The Hornets may prefer someone like Duren who may have more upside as a defender in space but Kessler is a historically effective shot-blocker who would absolutely raise their ceiling. He posted an astronomical 18.8 percent block rate and has the mobility and touch to work as a pick-and-roll partner for the Hornets ball-handlers. He may not have much stretch to his game and his mobility probably limits him to drop coverage at the other end. But having him in the center of their defense could be a game-changer for the Hornets.