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Raptors To Work Out Indiana Center Projected to Be 1st Round Pick

The Toronto Raptors appear to be taking a closer look at Kel’el Ware ahead of next month’s NBA draft.

The Indiana sophomore is reportedly among the prospects the organization is expected to have in for a workout at some point before the draft, Jeff Rabjohns of Peegs.com wrote. The 7-foot center is among the top big men in this year’s draft and is expected to go at some point around Toronto’s first-round pick at No. 19.

It’s not hard to see why Toronto would be interested in Ware too. He’s among the most physically gifted prospects in this year’s class thanks to a nearly 7-foot-5 wingspan and impressive quickness.

After a year at Oregon, Ware transferred to Indiana this past season where he averaged 15.9 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. Most notably, Ware was a 42.5% three-point shooter, connecting on 17 of his 40 three-point attempts for the Hoosiers.

How real his three-point shooting is remains a bit of a question.

Ware shot just 15-for-55 from three-point range as a freshman and was a 63.4% free-throw shooter this past year. That said, he looked good at the NBA draft combine and appears to at least have potential as someone willing to take three-pointers down the road.

Defensively, Ware has the lateral quickness to switch out onto the perimeter in a pinch and with some physical maturity should have the strength and size to go up against some of the league’s biggest bigs.

Where Ware is lacking is in his consistency and his decision-making skills. He had a negative assist-to-turnover ratio and for a Raptors team that tried to create offense out of its big men this past year that could be an issue.

Ware isn’t going to come in and make an immediate difference for Toronto next season. The 20-year-old looks like he’ll need some time in the G League to continue his development and the Raptors should have no problems giving him that opportunity. With Jakob Poeltl and Kelly Olynyk under contract for the next couple of seasons, Toronto can play it slow with Ware and eventually develop the Arkansas native into the type of young big man to pair with Scottie Barnes moving into the future.

Anna Harden

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