In a surprising move, Tennessee basketball forward Yves Pons has declared for the NBA Draft, but it’s unlikely that he will go through with it.
I don’t think Yves Pons is going to the NBA, whether that’s through the draft or an undrafted free agent, but he has declared for the NBA Draft which could help him, and Tennessee basketball, a lot this year.
The junior forward has reportedly put his name in the 2020 NBA Draft hat to test the waters, and likely nothing more. L’Equipe, a French sports website, first broke the news.
"“Yves Pons confirmed his intention to present himself to the 2020 NBA Draft. He reserves the right to [come back for] a last year in college. After Killian Hayes and Theo Maledon, a third Frenchman decided to present himself in the 2020 draft. Yves Pons, who has been playing for the Tennessee Volunteers since 2017, confirmed his intention to submit his name among likely players to make their debut in the American league next season.In the podcast Envergure, where he confirmed his intention to test the interest of [NBA] franchises…he added that he could envision [returning] to Tennessee to play there for a fourth and final season.”"
As you may know, Tennessee is expected to take a big step forward this fall, with a lot of players returning, including Pons. If he were to leave Tennessee for the NBA, that could be a big blow to the Vols and its plans for 2020 and 2021.
He won the SEC Defensive Player of the Year Award this past season, so I would say 2019 was his best season to date, but that usually means he’s going to get better throughout the offseason and come back better and working his way to becoming NBA ready.
The NBA Draft is a lot different than just about every other sports draft there is. In the NBA, there are only two rounds, so only the best of the best in college basketball get drafted, unlike the NFL, where there are seven rounds, and the MLB where there are 40 rounds.
If I’m being honest, I don’t think Pons is NBA ready, and I’d be surprised if he were actually drafted. We all know how good Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield were at Tennessee, and they even struggled to get really good draft grades.
Heck, Schofield was drafted in the second round, and so was Jordan Bone, who was drafted with only three selections left.
I wouldn’t consider Pons on Schofield or Williams’ level. He might be near Bone’s, but I still don’t think he’s good enough to be drafted. Maybe I’m wrong; I hope I’m wrong, especially if he decides to go through with his decision.
If he can show off his athleticism to NBA scouts, then I think he has a chance to sneak his way into the back-half of the second round. Other than that, I hope it’s just to see where he’s graded and what he needs to improve on, similar to what Schofield did.
I think if Pons does that, then not only will it help him improve his game for the 2020 season, but it would also benefit Tennessee greatly.
I can’t say I was anything less than shocked when I first read this, and future draft picks shouldn’t send shock when they declare. Pons is a solid basketball player, and I think having him back in Knoxville in 2020 will be a great asset for the Vols and his future as an NBA star.