Per the Raptors, it’s official: for their team’s 17th man, the holder of one of two 2-way contract slots, Toronto has signed guard Shamorie Ponds. Reports of the signing have been in the air for the past two days — ever since Oshae Brissett claimed the other two-way spot — with the man himself even getting in on the action:
Very Excited for the Opportunity @Raptors Blessed and ready to get to work ! #11— Shamorie Ponds (@ShamorieP) October 21, 2019
Ponds joins the Raptors and the G-League’s 905 as a 21-year-old guard listed at 6’1” and 180 pounds. Hailing from Brooklyn, he’s spent the past three seasons playing for St. John’s in the Big East Conference, averaging 19.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.3 assists in 35.2 minutes per game. In that time Ponds has been good for 44 percent from the field and 33 percent from three. Ponds seemed about ready to try for the NBA in 2018, but apparently thought better of it and played out his junior season.
Nevertheless, after going undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Rockets signed Ponds and put him on their Summer League team where he put up 7.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in 20 minutes per game across five contests. After that, he got to run through training camp with James Harden and the gang, even getting the chance to travel to Japan to play in the two preseason games against these very same Raptors. Ponds skipped through eight minutes of action across the two games, putting in a total of five points. (You’d be forgiven if you’ve already forgotten this information.)
The main thing that appears to be working against Ponds right now is his size — again, 6’1” with a 6’3” wingspan — but he’s got a ton of quickness on the offensive end and, as those steals averages suggests, a nose for the ball on defense. With the departure of Jordan Loyd, and Isaiah Taylor’s apparenty decision to decline a two-way deal after Toronto put Malcolm Miller on the main roster, Ponds now stands to benefit.
And from the sounds of his excited tweeting, Ponds appears ready to go for the 905 already. Now he, and all of us, have to once again just trust the Raptors’ player development process.