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Quentin Batalillon

General News 2024

Heat pick Indiana’s Kel’el Ware at No. 15

The Miami Heat are known for being tough on players. Does Kel’el Ware fit in?

Ware made tremendous strides in that area in his lone season of basketball at Indiana, developing into an All-Big Ten player. But coach Erik Spoelstra and team president Pat Riley take it to another level.

Miami selected Ware 15th overall in the 2024 NBA Draft.

NBA Draft Grades for Kel’el Ware, Miami Heat

Adam Finkelstein, CBS Sports: B-

Ware is the most polarizing prospect in this class. There are a lot of those guys, but he’s the most extreme. He’s been that way since high school. He has every tool in the book: size, speed, hands, touch to the perimeter. But he has said out loud that he’s not sure how much he loves basketball. There have been questions about motor skills, physicality, etc. But going to heat and heat culture will be great for him – unless he doesn’t fit in.

Ayrton Ostley, USA TODAY: B

Miami gets another athletic shot blocking presence and Ware could bolster one of the better three-point shooting teams. However, with this pick, the Heat could have gone with a scoring guard or wing to help with Jimmy Butler’s questionable future.

Robby Kendall, Dime: C+

To be honest, I was surprised by this choice. Ware has tremendous measurable traits and skills, which aligns with a pick in this range. If the whole package comes together, Ware could become a starting center or better. But his concerns about motor skills and attentiveness don’t evoke ‘Miami Heat,’ so it was a bit of an off-the-radar choice, especially on a team with Bam (Adebayo) already at center. Still, there is a clear advantage with Ware.

Yahoo: B+

Ware really made a leap in improvement from his freshman year at Oregon to his sophomore season at Indiana, showing more upside as a pick-and-roll big while applying pressure at the rim. His athleticism helps him guard the perimeter of the transition and he has improved his ball handling, allowing him to start the break on missed shots.

Zach Buckley, Bleacher Report: C

Ware is big and mobile, which has always been an intriguing combination, but it’s especially useful in today’s pace-and-space environment. He seems physically ready for the NBA at this point, as he could step into a rim-running, lob-crushing role and perhaps add a dash of perimeter shooting as well.

That shooting potential is a bit mysterious, though. The returns he achieved last season (42.5% from 3) were low (40 tries in 30 games). He also shot a paltry 63.4% from the foul line. So who knows who will prove his real improvement? Take away some concerns about his physicality and feel for the game, and he’s far from confident despite looking good.