The Los Angeles Lakers welcomed another wave of 2018 NBA Draft prospects to their UCLA Health Training Center on Monday, with St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds among those to participate.
Unlike a few others the Lakers have invited for a pre-draft workout, Ponds was not part of the group who was on hand for the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. “It definitely adds more fuel to the fire,” Ponds said of the snub.
“I definitely should’ve been there but you can’t do anything about it now but show out in the workouts.” With the Lakers, that meant proving his mettle on both ends of the court.
“Just being a leader, being more vocal, the ability to stay in front of my man, and do what I do best, score the ball and get my teammates involved,” Ponds said his goals were.
Ponds struggled through a 3-point shooting drill during the portion of the workout that media were permitted to watch. He similarly failed to connect from behind the arc during the ‘Lakers Mentality Drill.’
It was a bit of a surprise considering Ponds shot 37.5 percent from deep and had 19 games with at least three 3-pointers made during his sophomore season. Overall, Ponds averaged 21.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.3 steals per game, earning All-Big East First Team honors.
At the conclusion of the pre-draft workout Lakers head coach Luke Walton addressed the group of prospects. “Coming in you’re not going to be able to take 25 shots, so come in and do something you’re great at,” said Ponds of Walton’s message.
The 19-year-old could be an option for the Lakers with their second round pick (47th overall), as the team presumably is on the search for a backup point guard. Ponds did not hire an agent and has until May 30 to withdraw from the 2018 NBA Draft and return to St. John for a third season.