7 Seamless NBA Fits for Kel'el Ware

Kel'el Ware, Indiana Men's Basketball
Kel'el Ware, Indiana Men's Basketball / Porter Binks/GettyImages

While he has been slipping drastically in recent 2024 NBA mock drafts, Kel'el Ware is without a doubt someone who looked the part of an NBA caliber center last season. Ware may currently be on the outside looking in when it comes to 1st round territory, but he will have a massive opportunity to showcase his abilities at tomorrow's annual NBA draft combine after receiving an official invitation to the party.

Coming into the 2023-2024 NCAA season, there was a surplus of slander surrounding the big man's so called "lack of motor". While he was reluctant to pay mind to any of the negative outside chatter, he understood his assignment of proving those doubters incorrect.

And incorrect they were proven.

Austin Williams, Kel'el Ware
Kel'el Ware, Indiana Men's Basketball / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

His next assignment will be to prove the critics within NBA scouting circles inaccurate in their early assessments of him in the same manner that fellow former Hoosier standout Trayce Jackson-Davis did during his rookie campaign with the Golden State Warriors. It is largely assumed that he will at the very least hear his name called, but it is now on him to determine how long he will have to wait for that miraculous moment.

Whatever the case may be as far as the present state of his draft stock, there is no denying that whichever team spends a selection on the dynamic 5 man will be securing a 7-footer with some serious potential. So while we await the inevitable unveiling of Ware's next stomping grounds, we could not help but to imagine 7 NBA squads (in no particular order) who would seem to be seamless fits for the product of Arkansas.

San Antonio Spurs | Picks = #6, #33

The idea of Kel'el Ware and Victor Wembanyama sharing the floor together in the frontcourt is darn right tantalizing. With the two of them on the court together at any juncture of a game, scoring around the rim would be a chore for any and all paint-goers. And while Ware may not be at Wemby's level just yet in terms of unicorn-esque skills, he could surely learn a lot in that area from his fellow 20-year-old slender-man.

Phoenix Suns | Picks = #22

The Phoenix Suns could do a lot worse than Jusuf Nurkic at the center spot. But with the trio of Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, and Kevin Durant focused primarily on getting out on the break offensively, James Jones and his front office companions should be looking for an athletic big man who can get up and down the floor, own the glass (Ware averaged 9.9 RPG in 2023-2024), and protect the paint (Ware averaged 1.9 BPG in 2023-2024).

The slim rookie center could be exactly what the Suns need.

Denver Nuggets | Picks = #28, #56

Nikola Jokic may be a 3-time MVP, but not even a 3-time MVP can suit up for an entire 48 minutes each and every night. With that in mind, the Denver Nuggets current backup big body is the soon-to-be 36-year-old DeAndre Jordan. Ware would probably supplant Jordan on the depth chart simply by default, and would have the luxury of learning from the best big man in the game.

New Orleans Pelicans | #21

With Jonas Valanciunas entering free agency this summer, there could be a frontcourt shift looming in the Big Easy. While they would probably be wise to pursue a veteran center to slot next to Zion Williamson, Ware could be groomed as his frontcourt partner of the future. The two may not form as dynamic a duo as that of a Wemby-Ware twin towers look, but their style of plays would seem to complement each other nicely inside of the old imagination.

Washington Wizards | Lottery TBD (Possible #1), #26, #51

The Wizards were the runner-up in the race to the worst record in the NBA in 2023-2024, and aside from Deni Avdija and Bilal Coulibaly there is not much to get giddy about in terms of this organization's future outlook. Up front, Marvin Bagley is the only guy who resembles a plausible future cornerstone... only you have to squint incredibly hard in order to see that resemblance.

Of all 30 NBA teams, landing in Washington would probably be Ware's quickest path to instant playing time.

Oklahoma City Thunder | TBD (2 Potential Lottery Picks)

The Thunder are expected to have two lottery selections in this year's draft, with one coming via Houston (top-four protected) and the other via Utah (top-10 protected). We have bore witness to Sam Presti's willingness to go the wild card route early in the draft before (example: Ousmane Dieng), and betting on a potential future frontcourt of Chet Holmgren and Kel'el Ware feels like the type of investment which could yield lucrative dividends down the line.

Boston Celtics | #30, #54

Look beyond the oft-injured Kristaps Porzingis and 37-year-old Al Horford, and you will find a massive void in terms of frontcourt depth for the Boston Celtics. With all due respect to Xavier Tillman, Luke Kornet, and Neemias Queta, the war room would be wise to persuade Brad Stevens into picking up Ware's services. In all honesty, he could unlock an athletic element off the pine which has been sorely lacking for the lucky charms this season.