With the 15th selection (Via Houston, according to Bleacher Report), the OKC Thunder go for a position a large pocket of the fanbase thinks they need: a big man!
This week, Mark Daigneault rolled out a two-big lineup for the first time in the regular season, and it gave a glimpse of a change-of-pace that the Thunder might want to routinely have in their back pocket. Enter the 15th overall pick in this mock draft, Kel’el Ware.
Ware is a seven-footer who started his career at Oregon before transferring to Indiana this offseason. This is just the second college season for Ware after a disappointing freshman campaign for the Ducks.
This season, Kel’el Ware is averaging a career-high in Points (17), Rebounds (8), assists (2), Steals (1), and Blocks (1.7) per game. Ware is shooting 50 percent from three-point land on over an attempt per game and 64 percent from the floor, up from last year’s lowly 43 percent field goal mark.
Ware looks like a totally different player for the Hoosiers. Ware is a post-up option for Indiana, shooting 58 percent in such situations while turning in 1.290 points per possession, good enough for the 91st percentile in the country.
Ware is excellent on cuts, turning in 1.455 points per possession, and as a roll threat, going for 1.167 points per possession.
The Indiana big man shoots 79 percent at the cup, 44 percent on catch-and-shoot chances, and is 4-for-8 on three-pointers.
On the defensive end, the seven-footer deters shots, only letting matchups score at the cup at a 45 percent clip. He makes life tough on shooters, only allowing 20 percent from the floor from opposing jump shooters, and he can play textbook drop coverage.
The benefit to picking up Kel’el Ware for the OKC Thunder would be the lack of pressure to start him; despite being a fridge lottery pick, Ware will benefit from being a rotational piece in the NBA.
In certain matchups, he can heavily soak up time with Chet Holmgren on the floor, while against other teams, he can just come in and fill a gap in the second unit. Ware, in this range, makes a lot of sense for OKC.