Yves Pons dipping his toes into the NBA waters makes perfect sense.
Saturday, Jeff Goodman announced on Twitter that Pons has declared for the NBA Draft.
Pons’ decision to declare for the draft comes as no surprise to me. Early in the season, I said, “Pons would get drafted in the 2020 NBA Draft.”
Just like the NFL, the NBA looks for potential at the next level. Both leagues hunt for players with unique skill sets. While what players accomplish in college is important, upside and athleticism mean much more.
Jordan Bone is a perfect example that hits close to home for Vol fans. Bone developed into a great point guard for Tennessee in his last season on Rocky Top.
However, that alone wasn’t enough to get Bone drafted. It was his outstanding combine.
Bone was one of the most impressive players combine, and in the end, teams couldn’t pass on the opportunity of adding him to their organizations.
Pons has the same type of opportunity and started to utilized his athleticism to make a consistent impact on the defensive end.
Thanks to his athleticism, Pons was one of the best defenders in the country. He even won Defensive Player of the Year in the SEC.
According to KenPom.com, Pons finished 54th in the nation in block percentage. Block percentage is calculated by blocked shots/opponents 2-point attempts.
Pons was just one-of-four players listed 6-foot-6 of below to rank inside the top-100 in block percentage.
In addition, he tied a single-season Tennessee record with 73 blocks.
At the next level, it’s important to have guys on the floor that can guard multiple positions. It just so happens that was one of the many perks of having Pons on the floor.
There are many examples of Pons switching on ones and fives.
Pons also became a weapon on the offensive end of the floor. He shot 34.9 percent from deep, connecting on 30-of-86 attempts. Pons was also able to shoot 55.5 percent from inside the three-point line.
There’s no official word on the NBA Draft Combine. However, there have been reports that NBA teams are planning for no combine, interview, or workouts this draft.
Above all, having no NBA Combine to impress scouts and teams with his athleticism, I believe Pons comes back next season.
That’s excellent news for Rick Barnes and the Vols. Tennessee should have the pieces to be a top-10 squad next season.