Experts grade the Miami Heat selecting Kel’el Ware with No. 15 pick in 2024 NBA Draft

NBA Draft
The Miami Heat have drafted Kel’el Ware No. 15 overall in the 2024 NBA Draft. (Photo Courtesy of the Miami Heat / @MiamiHEAT on Twitter)

In case you haven’t heard, the Miami Heat have drafted Indiana center Kel’el Ware with the No. 15 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft! How do the pundits view and grade the Heat’s selection? Let’s hop into it!

SB Nation (Ricky O’Donnell): A

Ware is huge, super athletic, and had 42 percent of his threes at low volume this past year at Indiana. He’s known for being a “low motor” player who could make more hustle plays than he does, and there’s no better landing spot for someone like that than Miami. In the Heat’s development program, Ware will be able to add strength and focus on perfecting his mentality. He’s bubbling with upside as a potential drop coverage shot blocker, lob threat, and spot-up shooter. It will be interesting to see if he can play minutes alongside Bam Adebayo, but if he comes out as a 40 percent three-point shooter, it won’t be an issue.

The Ringer (Danny Chau): C+

Wow, what a great test case for how deep HEAT CULTURE runs. Ware is one of the most talented big men in the class—a 7-footer with long arms, an incredibly fast first and second jump, and both the soft touch and willingness to take an open catch-and-shoot 3 with confidence. As with so many prospects over the decades who share Ware’s physical tools, it can be frustrating to watch him when he’s not fully locked in. But the things Ware brings to the table are undeniable. And I don’t know if you’re allowed to not be fully locked in for Miami. When the Heat selected Jaime Jaquez Jr. last year, I didn’t quite see the vision; I gave the pick a C+. That seemed to have worked out well. Let’s try it again.

Sporting News (Kyle Irving): B+

The Heat just signed All-Star center Bam Adebayo to a three-year, $166 million contract this afternoon. Now, they get some frontcourt size in Ware, a 7-foot backup center.

Ware’s mobility, athleticism and potential to stretch the floor makes him a great fit with the Heat. He’s a rim protector and lob catcher with developing offensive skills.

Once a five-star, top recruit coming out of high school, where better to maximize his talents than a renowned player development program like Miami?

CBS Sports (Adam Finkelstein): 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 single tool in the book: size, speed, hands, touch out to the perimeter. But he’s said out loud he’s not sure how much he loves basketball. There have been questions about motor, physicality, etc. But going to the Heat and Heat culture will be great for him — unless he can’t fit in.

Bleacher Report (Zach Buckley): C

The Miami Heat seemed determined to add another center to play both alongside and in relief of Bam Adebayo. Kel’el Ware was arguably the best center left on the board (though Yves Missi might have something to say about that). It’s hard to knock the pick if that was the aim.

Ware is big and mobile, which has always been an intriguing combination, but it’s especially helpful in today’s pace-and-space environment. He looks physically ready for the NBA right now, as he could walk into a rim-running, lob-crushing role and perhaps add a pinch of perimeter shooting as well.

That shooting potential is a bit mysterious, though. The gains he made this past season (42.5 percent from three) came on low volume (40 attempts in 30 games). He also shot a paltry 63.4 percent from the foul line. So, who knows who real his improvement will prove? Tack on some concerns regarding his physicality and feel for the game, and he’s far from a sure thing despite looking the part.

You never want to doubt Miami’s coaching and developmental staff, but is there enough shooting between him and Adebayo (let alone Jimmy Butler) to log major minutes together? Or did the Heat just use the first pick after the lottery on a backup big man?

Yahoo Sports: B+

Ware really made a jump in improvement from his freshman year at Oregon to his sophomore season at Indiana, showing more upside as a pick-and-roll big while putting pressure on the rim. His athleticism helps him guard the perimeter off the switch and he’s improved his ball-handling, starting the break off missed shots.

USA Today (Ayrton Ostly): B

Miami gets another athletic shot blocker and Ware could bolster one of the better three-point shooting teams. At this pick, though, the Heat could’ve gone with a scoring guard or wing to help with Jimmy Butler’s future in doubt.

Other Analysis:

The Athletic (Sam Vecenie, John Hollinger):
Sam Vecenie: 

Kel’el Ware isn’t an easy evaluation because he has all the tools you look for in a modern-day big. He’s 7-foot with an enormous wingspan that allows him to be a rim protector and tremendous finisher on the interior. It’s hard to find bigs who can genuinely space the floor, and Ware certainly has potential to do that. But, man, it’s just hard for me to get past the feel-for-the-game issues on both ends. His engagement and motor, despite improvement this year, are still worries. I buy his talent, but I worry that he ends up in the Christian Wood zone — an incredibly talented player who doesn’t consistently help NBA teams win games. I wouldn’t want Wood on my team, and I felt a lot of similar vibes watching Ware. The good news for Ware? There’s still time. He’s only 20 and he can grow beyond what his tape showed this season. Ware has all the tools to become a starting NBA center. Plus, he’s on a positive trajectory in terms of being more engaged than he was at Oregon, and people around him do genuinely like him as a person. I ended up with a late-first-round grade. His upside is that of a lottery player, but the floor is lower than I’d like to see for that kind of pick.

John Hollinger:

Ware’s occasional on-court lethargy doesn’t exactly scream #HeatCulture, but he fills a need for a backup 5 who can score … one that Miami fairly unsuccessfully attempted to fill last offseason with Thomas Bryant and Orlando Robinson. Stylistically, Ware’s ability to play on the perimeter also lets the Heat play more of a five-out style, and he could share the court with Bam Adebayo at times because of it.

ESPN (Jeremy Woo)

After being tied to guard prospects for much of the pre-draft process, Miami went a surprising direction with Ware, who had one of the widest projected ranges of outcomes in the draft. This proved to be the very top end for Ware, who always held lottery-level talent. Concerns about his motor and consistency, however, created some divergence of opinion on the likelihood he maximizes that ability. While this was an unexpected pick, the Heat are clearly investing in Ware’s development, opting to take a chance ahead of more established prospects on the board.

*******************

What is my take?

Ware wasn’t super high up on my personal big board because of the motor concerns out of Indiana; I’m not in those meetings nor was I conducting those interviews, so there was stuff I wasn’t able to see behind the scenes that the organization did.

Well, the Miami Heat drafted him ahead of Dalton Knecht–a consensus top-10 pick who I was quite high on, especially as a potential replacement to either Tyler Herro or Duncan Robinson (if Miami moved off one of them)–plus Tristan da Silva, Isaiah Collier and Jared McCain, among others, told me all I needed to know about the skepticism regarding his motor. If there’s one organization that I trust at the end of the day, it’s the Miami Heat.

They do their due diligence. They are the best in the business at scouting and developing … and they landed someone with plenty of talent, especially when the screws are tightened. Shoutout to former NBA head coach Mike Woodson.

Miami has plenty of needs–one of them being having a legit big to play behind Bam Adebayo and, potentially, alongside him. Make life easier for Bam, not harder. Ware does that.

With all due respect, 36-year-old Kevin Love shouldn’t be the short- or long-term answer. He now has the burden relieved from his shoulders if Ware’s able to step in from day one. He’s lengthy, athletic and mobile. Ware needs to improve his core and upper-body strength, but that will come with time.

As long he keeps his motor in the 4th gear, nobody should have anything to worry about. Perfect upside swing if that’s what you’re looking for.

Grade: B

***

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RDonuts

Ware can’t shoot the three. Big mistake.

Lee Christian

Grade A someone we badly needed 💯🤜🏽🤛🏽♟️

Lee Christian

Miami 🔥 South 🏖️

2qbn

Posted this in the other thread but seems like everyone moved over here.

Something I have been finding hilarious as I listen and read stuff on Ware. Everyone keeps saying about his 40% from three point that it was only on one attempt per game. We have been screaming for Bam to take one a game and the most he has ever averaged is 0.6 this season. We also want to move Bam to PF at times. Well Bam needs to average one a game lol

Lee Christian

Please say dat 🗣️ for the ppl all the way in the back 👏🏽💯♟️

Reality Czech

My post from 5 days ago:

’Reality Czech

 5 days ago

Assuming we keep the draft picks, let’s state up front what players we’d like them to take at 15. This way, we eliminate the 20/20 hindsight people who say after the fact that Riley and brain trust screwed up by taking player X before player Y.
For example, my 3 tiers:
Tier 1 – Carter, Topic (both probably gone before 15)
Tier 2 – Ware
Tier 3 – in no particular order – Collier, Edey, McCain
There is a lot to like in this range besides these – DaSilva, Missi, Dillingham, Holmes, Shannon. No game changer at the top, but pretty deep overall’

Initially, my first choice after tier 1 was Edey. But after 2qbn wrote about Ware, I got on the Ware bandwagon. Quicker, athletic, better overall defender, 3 point ability. But I’d have been very happy with any of those players.

2qbn

Ware wagon leaving town. All aboard!

SunManFromDogBone

A couple of us have been laser focused for a while for Miami to prioritize drafting a quality frontcourt player to pair with Bam. Apparently, the decision to draft a big was made only after Bam made known his desire to move to PF. Although I would have preferred to see the Heat select Zach Edey, he was no longer available by pick #15. In the end, I think Miami made the right choice. Ware has all the tools needed to be a very good NBA center. What he lacks is having a fire lit under his ass (what we call “Heat Culture”) in order to motivate him to “be all he can be.”

At the moment, I would rate the selection a B+. If Ware adds a few more pounds, a few more skills and a mean/physical attitude, it may wind up being an A-, A or possible an A+ decision. Time will tell.

GO HEAT!!!

P.S. The next month should be very interesting
June 29
Last day for a team or player option to be exercisedLast day for a player to receive a Qualifying OfferJune 30
Free agent negotiations can begin with players not on your own team (6 p.m. ET)July 1
Free agency moratorium (12:01 a.m. ET)First-round selections can sign contractsMinimum contracts (2 years or less) can signOffer sheets can be extended to a playerRestricted free agents can sign an offer sheetThird-year and fourth-year rookie options can be exercisedTwo-way contracts can be signed and convertedJuly 6
Free agency begins (Noon ET)Teams can officially sign free agentsTrades can become officialRookie-scale and veteran contracts can be extendedClock on offer sheets beginsJuly TBD
USA Basketball training camp (Las Vegas)July 6-9
Sacramento summer leagueJuly 8-10
Utah summer leagueJuly 10
USA Basketball exhibition vs. Canada (Las Vegas)July 12-22
NBA 2K Vegas Summer LeagueJuly 13
Last day to withdraw a Qualifying OfferJuly 20
USA Basketball exhibition vs. South Sudan (London)July 22
USA Basketball exhibition vs. Germany (London)July 27-Aug. 11
Olympics (Paris)

Last edited 15 days ago by SunManFromDogBone
Alien

Mark my words. This is the missing piece . With some G league prep, NBA finals here we come. I am excited 😊 🤗 🤪 😃 😄 😛 😊 🤗
Thanks Pat.

Alien

Love ❤️ 😍
Finally, finally,Finally. Heat addressing her needs and not her wants.
Now we are talking.

heat for life

Im in a semi panic mode sunday big day.Ny knicks are friggin loaded , 0ur arch enemy that suks im pissed.Come on riley do friggin something.Only major move is trading Jim unless a top fa likes lebrons south beach

2qbn

Dude, it’s not even free agency yet. Teams can agree to a trade, or deal with their guys, but for the most part you won’t see anything until Sunday-Monday, so tranquilo.

Reality Czech

After weeks of ‘we can’t trade Butler, if we do, we’re fkd, we’ll be mediocre for years, a play-in team’, now it’s trade Butler.
After months of ‘we’re too small, we need size and athleticism’, we get a tall athletic player. The response? The Knicks got Bridges and all we got was Ware.
As Knecht was mentioned, I’ll gladly acknowledge if he turns out better than Ware. But I will call bs if another player we didn’t take turns into this draft’s Maxey and someone laments Riley’s mistake.

Sundayafternoons

I’ll admit it, Oo I was so wrong about what Miami would do.

I didn’t think they’d draft a frontcourt player unless they could demonstrably pass, shoot and dribble.

Y’all who have been pointing out the size disparity were so spot on.

Kel’el makes a ton of sense if he can stick. Bam running point, with Duncan, Ty, Niko and Kel’el spotted up? KABOOOM

2qbn

I wanted Ware from the jump. Check the record lol

But in the last week or so all the mocks started converging on wing/guard so I started focusing on those guyus trying to get hyped for when we picked one, but Ware was my guy who I did not think they were going to draft. Holy crap I am ecstatic. Dude is ready for the guac campaign

heat for life

Hope hes better than andre ware (qb)

Sundayafternoons

I’m kinda hype to see him on the floor with Bam

Reality Czech

You could just as easily have been right. There were a lot of intriguing wings out there.

vagibugi

Well, at best, he is a poor man Wemby.
At worst, we have reincarnation of Hassan.

Deadsori123

whiteside 2.0 that’s a scary thought. That guy have the chance to become a good rim protector and roll player but his head got to big for him compare to his skills, discredited the people who gave him a chance, and his lethargic way of playing and complaints affected the team.

Hopefully Ware is just introverted and Spo can get him to be motivated. At best,he can be our Chris Bosh 2.0

Last edited 16 days ago by Deadsori123
vagibugi

Bosh would be great. But if he can be a good backup center, pf, would just fine right now.

2qbn

I can’t wait for summer league games next weekend.

heat for life

orob looked like next joel embid.summer league

2qbn

And that one summer Strus looked like a one-man army and proceeded to ball for us for two years and got paid.

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