What they’re saying: A look at the current NBA draft stock of Kel’el Ware

  • 04/09/2024 10:23 am in

Indiana sophomore Kel’el Ware declared for the 2024 NBA draft and will not return to school next season.

This year’s NBA draft will take place over two nights this year at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Round one will be on Wednesday, June 26 with round two on Thursday, June 27.

Here’s a look at Ware’s current standing in several of the latest mock drafts and big boards (information compiled at 10:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday, April 9):

ESPN.com, Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo: No. 26

Bleacher Report: Jonathan Wasserman: No. 18

Though Kel’el Ware struggled during Indiana’s finale and loss to Nebraska, he mostly had a strong last two months in terms of scoring and impact.

Narratives that point out empty stats or low-impact production have lost steam. He delivered more consistently in one-on-one situations around the basket while also flashing bonus shotmaking touch and range that create more offensive upside.

Ware is only going to look more enticing during workouts, where his physical tools, athleticism and shooting could push teams to ignore previous questions about inconsistency or motor.

The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor: No. 22

A dunk contest–worthy athlete with phenomenal size and length. He’s an eager shot blocker with excellent timing, and he has good mobility and makes quick second leaps.

Good hands catching tough passes around the rim with the coordination to pivot toward the basket and finish from difficult angles.

Shoots an easy ball from 3. He hops into his shot and cleanly transitions into his high, unblockable release. His percentages need to catch up, but his touch is a positive indicator. He shoots a high percentage on hook shots, floaters, and layups.

His combination of skills gives him great pick-and-roll potential. His high school team ran plays off the opening tip in which a player would screen for him as he’d sprint toward the basket to catch a lob.

The Athletic, Sam Vecenie: No. 33

NBADraft.net: No. 24

SBNation, Ricky O’Donnell: No. 11

CBS Sports, Kyle Boone: Not in first round

The Sporting News, Kyle Irving: No. 23

HoopsHype: No. 24

After failing to live up to the hype as a highly sought-after recruit as a freshman at Oregon, Kel’el Ware has rehabilitated his draft stock considerably after transferring to Indiana and playing for coach Mike Woodson as a sophomore.

“Ware’s first year at Oregon, he was very soft, didn’t play hard, and didn’t say much,” an NBA executive told HoopsHype. “Now at Indiana, watching his film, I feel like he’s played a lot harder than he had at Oregon. He’s productive. They haven’t won much because some of the other guys they brought in haven’t worked out. Ware has held up his part of the deal and been impactful. He’s blocked shots, caught lobs, made a few shots, and shown he can step away from the basket. I think there’s some stuff there you can work with if he is a guy who’s going to play hard and become physical.”

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