I’ve been procrastinating this week. I wanted to have part 1 of my draft big board completed by last Wednesday, but that didn’t happen. I thought maybe I’d have it ready for today, but that didn’t happen either. We’re left with this, the half-assed ramblings of a procrastinating Bulls blogger very not interested in writing about the upcoming NBA Draft.
I’m pretty much like every other Bulls fan out there. I scour the mock drafts to see which players will be available when the Bulls are picking. I take those names to YouTube and Google, watching hi-light reels and reading what the experts have to say about the young men. I recorded a number of college basketball games this past season, and I’ve reviewed some of that footage. I’ve compiled a list of prospects. Jotted down strengths and weaknesses, pros and cons. I’ve formed unshakable opinions of players based on the flimsiest of evidence. It’s exhausting, but I feel like most of us do this sort of work around draft time. It’s part of the ritual of NBA fandom.
We try to answer that age old question: Who’s your guy?
Who are people sleeping on, that diamond in the rough that the experts are ignoring but you KNOW is headed for greatness?
This is still a relatively young blog site. I’ve only written about one other NBA draft. Last year, I was super high on Mo Bamba. He did not impress last season, but that was to be expected. Bamba was a “project,” the kind of prospect you expect to blossom after 3-4 seasons in the NBA. This year my guy is Shamorie Ponds, 3rd year point guard from St. John’s. He is NBA ready right now. Give him an adjustment period of a month, month-and-a-half, and he should be making a steady contribution to whichever team drafts him.
Does Ponds have the “home run” potential of a Mo Bamba, or Ja Morant? No. He is decidedly a 2nd round pick in any NBA draft. Is he a sure thing, like LeBron James or Zion Williamson? Not exactly. The strength of Ponds is knowing exactly what he is, where he should be picked, and that he may never crack an NBA rotation. Shamorie Ponds is not a gamble. He is not a safe pick either, he could certainly be a bust, but as a 2nd round pick that’s not such a big deal. Ponds is the exact shoulder shrug pick every team should be making in the 2nd round. He’s the guy only that team’s fan base will know about and appreciate. He’s Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors, Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets, he’s the guy that seemingly comes out of nowhere.
-Generic Bulls Fan 1: Hey [co-workers name], did you watch the draft last night? Who’d the Bulls get?
-Generic Bulls Fan 2: Yeah, I watched it. The Bulls got Jarrett Culver and Shamorie Ponds.
-Fan 1: They got Culver?! Great! Who the hell is Shamorie Ponds?
-Fan 2: I don’t know. They said he was a point guard.
-Fan 1: Cool.
Fast forward to a couple weeks into the season…
-Generic Bulls Fan 1: Hey [co-workers name], did you watch the Bulls game last night?
-Generic Bulls Fan 2: Yeah, I watched it. Zach LaVine was on fire!
-Fan 1: I know, and that Ponds kid looks pretty good!
-Fan 2: Yeah.
Fast forward to the middle of December…
-Generic Bulls Fan 1: Why the hell aren’t they starting Shamorie Ponds??!!!
-Generic Bulls Fan 2: I guess they like his production off the bench, leading the second unit.
-Fan 1: Jim Boylen is an idiot. Ponds is great!!! He should be starting!!! He’s like B.J. Armstrong in his prime!!!
-Fan 2: Wha-???
-Fan 1: Dude, don’t tell me you don’t think B.J. Armstrong wasn’t the best! This Ponds kid is exactly like B.J. Armstrong!!!
-Fan 2: Umm…
-Fan 1: Man, Boylen is a moron! You gotta start Ponds!!!
If this conversation sounds familiar, it’s because you are a Bears fan, and it’s the exact conversation every Bears fan has ever had regarding the back up quarterback. Shamorie Ponds is the back up quarterback. He will be good enough to make people believe he should be the starter. He may even become good enough to be the starting point guard. He will be a lot of fans favorite player. But, more important than all of the meathead fan stuff, Ponds will be a hard worker and solid contributor.
The biggest weakness of this Bulls team is not the point guard position as the Front Office would have you believe. It’s the lack of talent depth on the roster, and the bench in particular. Shamorie Ponds fills both the perceived need at point guard and the lack of depth on the bench. I’m going out on a limb here, but I believe he can be a better player than both Ryan Arcidiacono and Shaquille Harrison, and given enough time, maybe even B.J. Armstrong.
This post went from a lamentation over writers block into an ode to Shamorie Ponds. Quite obviously, he’s my guy in this years draft, and I hope the Bulls pick him in the second round. If you’ve got a guy you want the Bulls to draft (someone other than Zion or Ja) feel free to let us all know in the comments. Now is a time for bold thoughts and strong emotional attachment to players the rest of the world has hardly ever seen or scouted!
I’ve fought through my procrastination, so maybe that big board will be ready for Wednesday (don’t hold your breath. Sunday is more realistic). Thanks for bearing with me. Thanks for reading. And GO BULLS!