The 2019 NBA Draft was conducted last Thursday and the Big East was sort of involved. Eric Paschall was selected with the 41st selection by the Golden State Warriors and was the lone draft representation by the conference. But it doesn’t mean we won’t be seeing our share of other Big East players in the coming weeks. After the draft is concluded numerous undrafted free agents sign with NBA teams. They can be deals to play for their G-League team or Summer League squad. Some even get the chance of getting guaranteed money with regular free agent deals.
Let’s take a look at some of the guys who have been picked by NBA teams.
Shamorie Ponds, Houston Rockets
One of the surprising UDFA’s of the entire class, it was no surprise to see Shamorie Ponds picked up so quickly. He signed a multi-year contract with the Houston Rockets shortly after the draft concluded.
A known scorer at all three levels of the court, Ponds will surely give Houston some much needed spark off the bench. He averaged 19.6 points and shot above average with a 57.1 true shooting percentage. Ponds also flashed some playmaking skills with an assist percentage of 29.2 and averaged 5.1 dimes per game in 2018-19. In a limited role he can shine and run the Rockets offense with the second unit.
Max Strus, Boston Celtics
Strus was the DePaul Blue Demons best offensive player and was the ultimate microwave scorer. The man who finished 1st in the Big East in minutes played recently signed a two-way contract with the Boston Celtics.
He could get buckets in a hurry and when he got going, it was hard to stop him. He averaged 20.1 in his final year with the Blue Demons and also grabbed nearly six rebounds per game. At 6’6, Strus will likely play the three in the NBA and will have to up his defensive game while he’s in the G-League with the Maine Red Claws. He could also get some playing time in the NBA with his two-way contract.
Summer League deals
Justin Simon, Chicago Bulls
Ponds wasn’t the only one from St. John’s who got a contract. His backcourt mate Justin Simon agreed to a deal with the Chicago Bulls and will play on their Summer League team. Simon, worked out with the Bulls during their draft process, was one of the best defensive players in the conference. In his two seasons with SJU he was in the top ten of defensive box plus/minus and also won Defensive Player of the Year for the 2018-19 season. Simon will show he can be a solid perimeter defender but will have to improve his game on the other side of the court. His shooting percentages weren’t great for the Red Storm.
Phil Booth, Cleveland Cavaliers
Jay Wright can now add two more players to his already humongous list of players who have made it to the NBA in recent years. One of them is guard Phil Booth. The five year senior signed a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers and will play for their Summer League team.
Booth was productive for Nova during his final season, averaging 18.6 points per game while also notching an assist percentage of 24.9. With his scoring and ability to give a team some playmaking alongside of it, Booth will be given a chance to show his skills in Vegas. It is a tough situation he’s walking into with Cleveland however. The Cavs drafted two guards in Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. along with Dylan Windler who can handle the ball a bit. The best case scenario for Booth here is to impress enough for a two-way contract or get noticed by another team by the time Summer League ends.