July 22, 2024

Selection Process

Kel'el Ware - Men's Basketball - Indiana University Athletics

Here’s how the draft panned out before the Raptors were on the clock:

| Pick | Team | Prospect |
| 1 | Atlanta Hawks | Alexandre Sarr |
| 2 | Washington Wizards | Zaccharie Risacher |
| 3 | Houston Rockets (Nets) | Reed Sheppard |
| 4 | San Antonio Spurs | Stephon Castle |
| 5 | Detroit Pistons | Donovan Clingan |
| 6 | Charlotte Hornets | Matas Buzelis |
| 7 | Portland Trail Blazers | Cody Williams |
| 8 | San Antonio Spurs | Tidjane Salaun |
| 9 | Memphis Grizzlies | Ron Holland |
| 10 | Utah Jazz | Nikola Topic |
| 11 | Chicago Bulls | Isaiah Collier |
| 12 | OKC Thunder (Rockets) | Rob Dillingham |
| 13 | Sacramento Kings | Devin Carter |
| 14 | Portland Trail Blazers (Warriors) | Dalton Knecht |
| 15 | Miami Heat | Jared McCain |
| 16 | Philadelphia 76ers | Ja’Kobe Walter |
| 17 | Los Angeles Lakers | Tristan da Silva |
| 18 | Orlando Magic | Carlton Carrington |

How the mock draft went down before the Raptors’ turn:

When considering the 19th pick, my shortlist included:

– Isaiah Collier
– Kel’el Ware
– Bub Carrington
– DaRon Holmes II

This list assumes that neither Devin Carter nor Tristan Da Silva would be available by the 19th pick. I also pondered the possibility of Nikola Topic, Jared McCain, or Ja’Kobe Walter sliding to 19th. Out of these three, Topic would be my immediate choice.

With Collier selected by Chicago, Ware was the best available player in my opinion. Despite the temptation to select DaRon Holmes II over Ware, Ware seemed the safest bet for the best available big man. The Toronto Raptors have been searching for the ideal center to pair with Siakam (which failed), and now aim to find someone to fit not only with Scottie Barnes but also in coach Darko Rajakovic’s offense. Ware represents a “modern big starter pack” with significant upside—a lottery talent just outside of the lottery, needing the right team to actualize his potential.

The Raptors have a strong track record in player development, and after a disappointing 2-3 years and the impact of the Salary Cap on roster construction, it’s likely that President Masai Ujiri emphasized a return to developing hidden gems when he made the coaching change last year.

Why Kel’el Ware?
Kel’el Ware’s comeback under coach Mike Woodson with the Indiana Hoosiers saw him averaging 15.9 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game. He also impressed with a 42.5% shooting percentage from behind the arc. As a modern-day big man, Ware’s potential is especially enticing if he’s available outside the lottery range.

Kel’el Ware is on par with most lottery picks in terms of talent, both offensively and defensively, and has the potential to excel in the right developmental system. Despite his enigmatic and polarizing stint at Oregon, his impressive performance with coach Mike Woodson at Indiana is hard to ignore. Ware possesses size, length, and athleticism that can’t be taught, and he effectively utilized these attributes this past season. His mobility, fluidity, and shooting ability—whether spotting up, rolling to the basket, or popping out to the perimeter on picks—make him an appealing choice for a team confident in their developmental system.


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