5 Sleepers the Lakers should take a chance on at No. 17 in 2024 NBA Draft

With the No. 17 selection in the 2024 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers need to find the perfect fit. The sleepers of the class may be the ideal targets.
Penn State v Indiana
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5. Kel'el Ware, Center

Few have done more for their draft stock over the past 12 months than Kel'el Ware. The Indiana Hoosiers center was a force of nature during his sophomore season, taking on the challenge of a transfer to the competitive Big Ten and thriving under the circumstances.

As one of the most physically-imposing prospects in the 2024 NBA Draft, Ware is now the type of player whom the Los Angeles Lakers should give serious consideration to.

Standing at 6'11.75" and 230 pounds with a 7'4.5" wingspan, Ware is a Goliath who has already shown significant signs of improvement. This past season the 20-year-old averaged 15.9 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.1 offensive boards, 1.5 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game.

Ware also shot 42.5 percent from beyond the arc on 40 attempts, which was up 15.2 percent in efficiency while declining by 15 shots in total.

That shift, experienced under former NBA head coach Mike Woodson, was a product of Ware embracing physicality and becoming more selective in when he floated around the perimeter. There's still work to be done in that respect, but his progress screams that he's willing to be coached.

Alongside Anthony Davis, Ware could be the ideal blend of traditional build, modern skill set, and commitment to defense that the Lakers have been searching for.

Throw in the fact that he's not afraid to play above the rim or finish through contact, and Ware has captivating potential.