What they’re saying: Kel’el Ware on the rise in NBA mock drafts

  • 06/13/2024 7:37 am in

The 2024 NBA draft is less than two weeks away and former IU big man Kel’el Ware is on the rise.

The 7-footer has been working out for NBA teams in recent weeks and is now showing up as high as the lottery in some projections.

Here’s an updated look at the projections for Ware:

ESPN.com, Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo: No. 23 to Milwaukee

The Bucks have needs at several positions and will likely be opportunistic depending on which player falls to No. 23. Center is certainly one of them, with 36-year-old Brook Lopez entering the final year of his contract.

Ware, who is ranked No. 25 in ESPN’s Top 100, has done a good job of addressing some of the red flags in his profile from his time at Oregon with stronger-than-expected interviews and background intel, helping to solidify his standing in the first round. He has elite physical tools and brings intriguing potential at 7-1 with his ability to stretch the floor and protect the rim. — Givony

Bleacher Report, Jonathan Wasserman: No. 13 to Sacramento

An impressive pro day of shooting has had teams buzzing about Kel’el Ware. Sources say he’s generating realistic consideration in the late lottery.

The narrative about his underwhelming motor has seemingly been squashed.

Ware figures to look highly enticing in a workout setting that can showcase his athleticism at the rim, mobility and high shotmaking skill level.

The Ringer: Kevin O’Connor: No. 9 to Memphis

League sources say the Grizzlies are looking to trade up in the draft. Could it be for center Donovan Clingan? If they stay put, maybe they go with Ware, who could be a rookie lob threat and rim protector in the mold of Dereck Lively II of the Mavericks. But if Ware’s 3-pointer translates as well as it did during his sophomore year at Indiana, then he’d bring a whole new dimension that’d enable the Grizzlies to play five-out offense with size.

The Athletic, Sam Vecenie: No. 32 to Utah

NBAdraft.net: No. 23 to Milwaukee

With an aging (36) Brook Lopez, who is still effective but will not be able to log the same number of minutes in future years, depth at the center position will be key. Ware is a player they are looking at and has talent left to develop going forward. Clingan, Edey and Ware would seem to receive a bump in value due to the fact that there aren’t a lot of talented bigs on the immediate draft horizon.

SBNation, Ricky O’Connell: No. 17 to Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers could really go in any direction here, but I like Ware or Yves Missi for the best overall players on the board. Ware gets the edge for increased shooting ability after hitting 42 percent of his threes on low volume this year at Indiana. Ware looks the part of a lottery pick as a long, athletic center oozing with natural gifts. He doesn’t always make multiple efforts or fight through contact, and that often leaves scouts wanting more out of him. Still, his intersection of size, leaping, and shooting potential is hard to find this late in a weak draft. He could be an interesting fit backing up or playing alongside Anthony Davis.

CBSSports.com, Kyle Boone: No. 25 to New York

New York may look to add at the center position here with Isaiah Hartenstein headed to free agency. Ware has a nice pedigree as a former five-star who broke out at Indiana last season, averaging 15.9 points, 1.9 blocks and shooting 42.5% from 3.

CBSSports.com, Adam Finkelstein: No. 24 to New York

I know…this is the most un-Thibbs pick ever. But if Ware ever buys into Thibbs style and the Knicks culture, he could turn into a steal. They also may have a need up front if Isaiah Hartenstein leaves in free agency.

Yahoo Sports, Krysten Peek: No. 14 to Portland

Ware has been the biggest riser during the pre-draft process and has been working out well for multiple teams. He also measured and tested well during the combine and is a player who has shown vast improvement during his college career, first starting out at Oregon before his sophomore season at Indiana.

247Sports, Brad Crawford: No. 30 to Boston

On3, James Fletcher III: No. 15 to Miami

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