As the regular readers of Rumble in the Garden are aware, St. John’s leading scorer, Shamorie Ponds, is testing the NBA Draft waters. Ponds has not hired an agent, and can withdraw from the NBA Draft until May 30th.
Shamorie is aware of many, if not most, of the mock drafts and social media experts’ theories. Speaking to News 12 last week, Ponds said, “you got people telling you this and you got people telling you this. You got no choice but to block it out.”
Regarding how Ponds plans on handling the next week and a half or so, Shamorie said, “We’re just trying to keep everything inside the family and we’re just trying to just get information from everywhere because you know anybody can tell you anything. So, we’re just trying to stay level-headed and stay the course.”
Despite Shamorie’s impressive season, particularly on the offensive end, Ponds was not part of the group of 69 athletes invited to the NBA Combine. “It just adds more fuel to the fire. They say the underdog story is the best story so I’m going to keep about being an underdog until it’s over.”
Last season, only two college basketball players were drafted by NBA teams without getting an invite to the Combine.
Not being able to compete in the NBA combine, however, leaves some amount of Shamorie Ponds’ NBA appeal to the imagination. His numbers were streaky, his three-point shooting was spotty, but on the floor, he was a bulldog, regularly meeting the challenge. In a combine setting, he might have really impressed teams that do not have him on the radar.
Instead, Ponds grinds through team workouts.
The Celtics are looking strong in the Eastern Conference, and given their roster, it would be tough to see where another ball-dominant point guard fits on this team next season. Between Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier, and depending on what happens with Marcus Smart, it is tough to see Ponds making the roster as a third ball-handler over Shane Larkin.
Of course, many players see limited minutes in their first season.
For the Cavaliers, free agency could leave their team decimated, with LeBron James having an option to leave his hometown team (again). Or, free-agency could be a chance for the Cavaliers to reboot their roster for another title run. Again. If the situation is the former, the Cavs could be looking for a buy-low situation and a collection of hungry young players, which Ponds’s current draft stock would likely fit. For the latter, the roster is likely to continue to be expensive, so Ponds could be a cheap provider of bench depth.
Brooklyn is still recovering from mortgaging their future for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, but the Nets have put together a relatively talented back-court in D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, and Isaiah Whitehead. Additionally, Jeremy Lin will be around for a couple more years. In this case, Brooklyn is likely going to scout as many players as they can and try to find talent by throwing as many proverbial darts at the board as possible.
After Ponds’ tremendous year, he deserved this opportunity to meet as many pro basketball people as he can, get the best tips and pointers available.
However, for St. John’s fans holding their breath for a Ponds return and a tournament run, keep holding that breath until the deadline to return to school — May 30th.