The Los Angeles Lakers seem to be casting as wide a net as possible while looking for players to select in the 2018 NBA Draft, and according to Zach Braziller of the New York Post, one of the next players the team will take a closer look at is St. John’s point guard Shamorie Ponds.
Ponds led the Big East in scoring with 21.6 points per game while also averaging 4.7 assists, five rebounds and 2.3 steals en route to a spot on the All-Big East first team.
The 6-foot-1 southpaw will visit and work out with the Lakers on May 20-21, followed by the Nuggets May 21-22, the Jazz May 22-23 and the Pistons May 23-24. He is also hoping to get a chance to meet and work out for the hometown Knicks, but that has yet to be finalized. Ponds has already worked out for the Nets, Cavaliers and Celtics.
Ponds, who was not invited to the 2018 NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, is the 61st-ranked prospect in the current class, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN.
In a 60-pick draft, that leaves it a very real possibility Ponds won’t be selected, but in addition to potentially being an option for the Lakers’ 47th overall pick, he could also be an option for either their Las Vegas or Sacramento Summer League teams as an undrafted free agent.
According to Braziller, Ponds’ father “has repeatedly said his son would not leave school if the second round — or worse, going undrafted — was a likely scenario.”
But should Ponds stay in the draft, Silver Screen and Roll draft expert Ben Rosales thinks he’d be a decent option for their second-rounder:
Ponds was an electric three-level scorer at the college level and capable of some impressive scoring outputs for a fairly mediocre St. John’s team.
That scoring is what Ponds will have to hang his hat on at the next level, as while he’s a decent distributor, his main value is going to come in applying pressure to opposing defenses with his shot. And there’s some reason for concern, as Ponds’ three-point accuracy precipitously dipped last season (25.3%) as he took an awful lot of bad shots off the dribble (although again, the quality of his team had at least a part in that). Not a super explosive and shifty athlete, Ponds needs his shot to be effective in order to open lanes to the rim and create separation, although he has a capable floater repertoire.
On the other end, Ponds competes, is tough, and has very fast hands (career 3.4 STL%) but his relatively small frame will give him problems at the next level and render him almost certainly a mono-positional defender.
Ponds has some intrigue for the Lakers in the second round and his scoring output and ability to initiate the offense while being a scoring threat does have value even if his path toward becoming efficient on offense is slightly unclear at this point.
Given Ponds’ draft stock, his workout will likely be a group one, meaning more names of players the Lakers will work out are still to come.
All stats per sports-reference.com. A full list of every prospect we know the Lakers have worked out is available here. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen, or support his work via Venmo here or Patreon here.