How Kel'el Ware Fits with the Miami Heat

Kel'el Ware, Miami Heat
Kel'el Ware, Miami Heat / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

With the 15th overall pick in the 2024 NBA draft, the Miami Heat selected our guy Kel'el Ware out of none other than Indiana University. Do not believe us? Take it up with NBA commissioner Adam Silver himself.

It was a long, hard journey getting to this point for the product of Arkansas, but he can finally say that he has officially made his ultimate dream into a reality. Becoming an NBA/WNBA player is the supreme aspiration for all young hoopers alike, and we could not be prouder of Kel'el for proving his doubters wrong and pushing through any and all adversities that he encountered on his journey thus far.

Assuredly Ware and his family will take some time to soak this whole experience all in, but reaching the NBA level is just the tip of the iceberg. Now that he is officially a member of an NBA franchise, the real work is set to begin. You see, many elite NBA prospects reach these heights but fail to live up to expectations. Many fizzle out under the pressure of justifying their place on this platform, and many are unable to sustain their spot in the league.

Luckily for Kel'el Ware, he will be joining a Heat organization built on a foundation of hard work, toughness, and accountability. "Heat culture" is a very real concept, and this is a franchise that knows how to get the most out of it's players. With Pat Riley running the show from the front office and Erik Spoelstra calling the shots from the sidelines, Ware finds himself in incredibly good hands as he prepares to enter the professional realm.

Furthermore, Ware will certainly have ample amounts of knowledge to absorb from one of the NBA's best active centers in Bam Adebayo. Adebayo figures to be the cornerstone building block for this franchise looking ahead after inking a massive extension, so scooping up some frontcourt support for him in the form of Ware was a worthy decision within the Heat's war room yesterday.

Kel'el Ware
Kel'el Ware, Miami Heat / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

With those things in mind, it will be interesting to see how Spoelstra and his staff elect to utilize Ware. Adebayo is penciled into a starting frontcourt position, with that presumably being at the center spot. But could Miami pivot and run a twin towers look with Ware next to Bam in the starting unit? That possibility seems unlikely right out of the gate as the rookie gets acclimated to the NBA game, but if he can continue to showcase his ability to hit outside shots at an effective rate than do not be stunned if that starting lineup shift comes to fruition at some point in the 2024-2025 NBA season.

At the very least, Ware should be expected to receive a decent dosage of minutes early on in the season. His length, athleticism, and wide array of offensive gifts make him a tantalizing tool for the Heat to make use of. We have seen this team turn relatively unsung guys like Gabe Vincent and Max Strus into 8-figure earners, so it should be a treat to witness what they have in store for Ware's development.

Looking beyond Bam Adebayo, this is a team with little to no depth down low in the trenches. Fellow Hoosier great Thomas Bryant and veteran journeyman Kevin Love each have player options to contemplate over the next few days, and we will assume that at least one of them departs via free agency. Orlando Robinson's non-guaranteed contract is also in the mix, but he does not bring the same dynamic elements to the game which Ware does.

Jimmy Butler (assuming he is back), Caleb Martin, Nikola Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr. should sponge up most/all of the minutes at power forward next season. However, nobody in that group other than Butler should feel as though their minutes are fully safe with Ware now in town. As previously noted, if he can hit outside shots at a consistent level than Erik Spoelstra is going to have a tough time keeping him off the floor.

Could you imagine trying to score in the paint against an Adebayo-Ware frontcourt? Factor in the always dogged defender Butler wreaking havoc on the perimeter alongside Terry Rozier at the point of attack, and the Miami Heat could lowkey have one of the NBA's top defenses next season.