Shamorie Ponds declared for the 2018 NBA Draft, and we did some digging to see where he stands in the draft hierarchy.
If Ponds decides to stay in the Draft, will be he drafted? It is unlikely, given the current mock drafts, and conversations with some NBA scouts. The second round of the draft, of course, is a place where wild things can happen as teams look to bring in talent; but Ponds’ father has said that they are not interested in being a second-round pick, where NBA coaches can make promises that they do not have to keep.
Ponds has not hired an agent, and so he can return to college. Ponds has until June 11 to decide whether to withdraw from the NBA Draft.
The Scouts’ Chatter
Trey reached out to three scouts — one from a lower-tier team in the Western Conference, and two in the Eastern conference,
They saw promise in Shamorie Ponds, but he needs to show a bit more. As for his potential this year, some notes:
- Mid-second round pick is possible; will eventually stick in NBA, after G-League or overseas stint.
- Crafty enough to make a success leap if his overall athleticism improves. Incredibly smart offensively. Too streaky for comfort, however. Defensive concerns. (This scout did not elaborate on the defensive concerns, but height and size are probably an issue.)
- Belief is St. John’s / Mullin connections will get him drafted SOMEWHERE. Another scout told me it’s very difficult to judge his play; surrounded by more talented players, with less attention on him by defenses, he might be very very solid. Must improve strength and speed though.
- He’s like Josh Hart on the Lakers, from Villanova. If a guy like Hart can make it, talentwise, as should Ponds. Only issue is Ponds’s limited national exposure due to St. John’s lack of success.
While we would disagree about the talent around Ponds, the Johnnies need to take some pressure off of him. That would have been Marcus LoVett’s job, of course, but that ship sailed.
If Ponds returns, Mikey Dixon is a creative scorer to play alongside, as Marucs LoVett would have been; Greg Williams and Sedee Keita might draw some attention away from Ponds as well.
Top 100 Rankings
David took a look at some of the rankings.
Over the past three seasons, players ranked in these ranges do not get drafted. Of those that do, they were either seniors (known risk, low upside) or international athletes (unknown risk, high upside). Neither classification applies to the sophomore from Brooklyn.
At least as the rankings stand now, and they are always liable to change before June, it seems likely Ponds is declaring for the 2018 NBA Draft to acquire feedback in preparation for the 2019 NBA Draft.
Could a team fall in love with his game after a workout and an interview?
Of course. It did not take long for the Red Storm fan base to fall in love with him and his game. Ponds has a crafty game, one where he can get and make shots.
But given the streakiness stated above, and the NBA’s premium on height and shooting, Ponds looks to be a longshot right now.
The feedback he will likely get is to improve his three-point shooting (career .316 3PT%), as it is obviously and increasingly important in the professional game — especially for a player who would be among the smallest NBA players. Putting W’s in the win column would likely be helpful to his stock as well.
“Testing the waters” is a good way to get more feedback, to practice NBA-style workout sessions, to see what pro scouts and GMs are specifically looking for, to get specific tips and to get comfortable with the process.
If you think of the pre-draft process as a job interview, it can’t do anything but help to do a run-through, figure out how to answer the questions, and impress some decision-makers a year ahead of time so they make a point to see Ponds.
For all we know, Ponds making an impact in the NBA a year early could also add value to the St. John’s brand; players could start to believe that Mullin’s offense will show case a player and get them to the league, if he made it.
However, as far as the timing goes, that impact seems more likely to occur next season than the latter, and the ephemeral effect on the program from having an NBA player is far less exciting than the effect of having that player on the floor.
Tariq Owens may return, and Shamorie Ponds, after testing the waters, may make the wise choice of showing how he can be with a fuller roster & multiple options — and hopefully putting a few more spectacular winning performances in his highlight reel before going pro.
Whatever decision Shamorie Ponds makes, the Rumble will continue covering his moves and the impact on next season.