Going on four years of continually profiling his NBA draft prospects, it is time to evaluate Quincy Pondexter
for the player he is rather than harp on his as of yet untapped potential. After all, the senior forward is averaging 22 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.9 steals per game, positioning himself as one of the top scorers and rebounders amongst NBA draft prospects in our database. In fact, Pondexter has improved across the board, averaging career highs in just about every statistical category and showing the tenacity and grit that scouts hoped to see from him during his last season at Washington.
Physically, there continues to be still very little to dislike about Pondexter. After all, he stands between 66 and 67 with a great frame and length. He is in another league athletically, as well, with excellent explosiveness and mobility, which when paired with his energetic and scrappy play, form an invaluable combination for the college game. Looking to the next level, where combo forwards are thriving and perimeter roles are being redefined, Pondexter has a tremendous amount of potential, capable of playing inside and outside on both ends of the floor.
On the offensive end, Pondexter has improved across the board, starting to look much more comfortable with his role and dominating all over the floor. While many of his 22 points per game come from the post and around the basket, he looks far more comfortable this season putting the ball on the floor and spotting up from distance.
His handle is much improved, probably still not quite where it needs to be in order to excel as a shot-creator at the next level, but good enough so that he can utilize his superior first step and explosiveness in mismatch situations. Few defenders, regardless of size and athletic ability, can stay in front of him at the collegiate level, hinting at his potential as a slasher should he continue to improve his ball handling ability.
Also much improved is his shooting stroke, which is far more fluid and compact than in the past. Though he still does not show the ability to consistently and comfortably knock down shots from the perimeter, it now looks like a good possibility that he will develop with time and practice. After all, he is making close to 57% of his shots from inside of the arc and 88% of 8.3 free throw attempts per game. There is no reason why Pondexter cannot develop into an offensive game equivalent to James Posey
or Mickael Pietrus
if he continues to work on getting more range on his jump-shot and confidence in his abilities. Scouts will be watching this season to see whether or not he can continue to make progress in this area.
On the inside, Pondexters athleticism and much improved footwork have allowed him to dominate bigger players with ease. He shows a softer touch this season and better awareness, which have helped him maximize his efficiency around the basket. Also worth noting, however, is his improved passing and the way hes managed to cut down on his turnover rate. Though he is very undersized, he does a good job of using his combination of athleticism and versatility to exploit match ups at the collegiate level, something sure to catch scouts eyes in the coming months.
Slowly but surely Pondexter is developing a killer instinct, attacking the boards relentlessly and getting to the foul line at a very good rate, both of which are expected from a player with his size, skill-set, and athleticism. He has also slowly emerged into a leadership role, which has manifested itself in aggressiveness and a greater desire to step up and create offense for himself in the clutch. Scouts will be watching him throughout this year to see if these flashes become a habit, as weve seen him start seasons off red-hot in the past, only to fade down the stretch.
Defense reigns supreme, however, when considering Pondexters NBA future. He has the ability to defend inside and outside, with lateral quickness that allows him to stay in front of guards and wings and suffocating length that helps him compensate for his lack of height in the post. His effort and focus-level has increased significantly this season as well, and while he still suffers from lapses from time to time, theyre far less frequent and it is clear that he is more active, aware, and vocal. He will have to continue to work hard in match ups against high caliber offensive players to prove to scouts that he has can develop into a multi-positional lockdown defender at the next level.
At just 21 years old, Pondexter is still very much an enigma and his role in the NBA is still not easy to project. Players with length and athleticism who can guard multiple positions and excel in up-tempo offenses are thriving in todays NBA, granted they fall into the right situation. If he can develop a reliable jump shot and continue to bring consistent energy and focus on both ends of the floor, he could be an extremely valuable rotation player.