Observations on Kira Lewis, John Petty, and Yves Pons
November 1st, 2020
By Alan Lu
This time around, I took the time to watch Alabama’s sophomore point guard, Kira Lewis play in an SEC basketball game that took place on February 4th against Tennessee, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via Vintage Orange. Kira Lewis is a speedy playmaker that has gained significant traction as a draft prospect for the 2020 NBA Draft, and his stock has been rising to the point that he could potentially go in the mid first round. This also presented another look at other prospects for 2021, such as John Petty, Yves Pons, and John Fulkerson, as well as Jordan Bowden for the 2020 draft. Here are my thoughts on how Lewis fared, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.
Kira Lewis is a big-tools point guard that has great speed that allows him to get swiftly to the rim, and he also played well on both ends of the court. He was very active defensively from the onset of this game, and he made a string of tough shots in the second half to keep his team in it. However, he also showed spotty shot selection and a penchant for turning the ball over, but he looked to be quite a promising point guard when he was making plays on the court.
Lewis did a fairly good job of scoring on speedy drives to the basket. He has a very good first step off the dribble, and he can get past the toughest perimeter defenders that college has to offer. He is an aggressive scorer that can really accelerate at the point of attack, and Lewis was able to score on acrobatic reverse layups, as well as on a floater and on a smooth, finger-roll layup another time. However, sometimes he would tend to take rushed, off-balanced layups in traffic, which would lead him to miss on tough shots around the basket.
He also is a good shooter that excelled at knocking down outside shots from downtown. Lewis showed a propensity to make pull-up threes. He was able to make a step-back three early on, and he also dribbled up to make a deep three late in this game. He also ran off of a ball screen to make an open corner three. He did miss on a few of his jumpers, but he generally excelled at knocking down shots to space the floor for his team.
While he did show some promising point guard skills, Lewis was still entirely too turnover prone in this game, and he had a propensity to commit make some really careless mistakes with the ball in his hands. For the positives, Lewis can operate well when he plays under control. He has very good foot-speed that allows him to get to the rim quickly as he can draw multiple defenders, and he can throw swift passes off the dribble that allows him to find teammates on the move. He throws some of his best passes when he displays the patience and court sense to find cutters and roll men, and he also can change directions off the dribble and throw no-look passes.
However, there were countless times where he would dribble around for too long or dribble into a trap, which would lead him to get the ball poked away to nearly turn the ball over. A few times, Lewis would throw hasty passes that would get deflected and intercepted. He has a tendency to stare down his targets, and he also tends to be inaccurate with his passes, which leads him prone to getting his passes picked off. He also caught the ball out of bounds once, and he also fumbled the ball exchange on a dribble handoff that led him to lose it out of bounds another time.
Also, Lewis was able to haul in his fair share of boards when he was on the floor. He would chase down balls to get rebounds on both ends of the court, and he also managed to push a ball up the court off of a defensive rebound midway through this contest.
In this game, Lewis played solid defense. He made an impact defensively right from the get-go, and he is an active help defender that was able to get his team plenty of steals and blocks against Tennessee. He showed solid leaping ability and timing to block shots off of drives, and he would leap up to intercept hastily thrown passes that were thrown right to him to get steals. Lewis also managed to jump on a loose ball to get another steal, and he excelled at contesting shots inside the paint, as well as playing passing lanes to get stops for his team.
On the downside, he can sometimes gamble too much defensively. He would sometimes overplay his man, which would lead him to commit a reach-in foul on a dribble handoff. Another time, he overplayed the dribble handoff, which led him to trail his man off the ball, which led him to be late to contest a mid-range shot to allow the score. Other times, he would be late on his rotations, and wouldn’t make a great effort to get to his man off of drives, which would lead his team to allow scores.
In general, Kira Lewis is a speedy, skilled combo guard that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he is a fairly solid defender, but he will need to play more under control to show that he can effectively run the point at the NBA level. He is an intriguing prospect that may possess considerable upside, and he could end up being a decent value pick for a team in the mid to late first round range, as he could end up being a similar player to former Detroit Pistons’ point guard, Reggie Jackson in the association.
Alabama’s 6-5 guard, John Petty had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Tennessee. He is a skilled sharpshooter that passed and defended well in this game, and though he struggled with his outside shot in this game, he was able to make some solid offensive plays to help his team stay in it against Tennessee. Petty did a good job of scoring on hustle plays. He made a sharp, backdoor cut to the rim late in this game, and he managed to score on a high-flying, powerful two-handed jam.
He also flashed an adequate ability to knock down jumpers in this game. He used a quick, crossover move to make a pull-up three from way out. However, he struggled to make spot-up threes off the catch, and he couldn’t quite establish much of a shooting rhythm on offense.
He also displayed an adequate ability to score off the dribble. Petty was able to draw numerous non-shooting fouls when handling the ball and taking it to the rim. However, he had trouble finishing plays in traffic, and he ended up missing on a couple of left-handed drives to the hoop. Petty did a good job of scoring in the post. On one play, he ran hard off the ball to get it, and he drove aggressively to post up his man. He then used a pump fake to score on a turnaround jump hook that time.
Petty also displayed decent playmaking skills. He is an unselfish player that would usually make the extra pass to keep the ball moving, and he can throw passes out of the post as well as off the dribble to notch assists. He would throw timely passes due to possessing solid court vision, and Petty can find teammates on the move to notch assists. However, sometimes he would be inaccurate with his passes that would lead to turnovers. He also struggled to handle the ball in traffic, and on one play, he got the ball knocked away when attempting a spin move on a drive that led him to get the ball knocked off of himself out of bounds.
Also, Petty did an excellent job of rebounding the basketball in this game. He would frequently leap up to haul in boards to help his team on the court, and Petty was especially active in crashing the glass to get defensive boards. He also was able to leap up high to get a defensive board in traffic, and he showed that he can be a good rebounder when he is committing to help his team out on the glass in games.
Plus, Petty also played decent defense. He would get his hands on passes to get steals, and he also poked a ball off of an opponent another time to force another turnover. Plus, he also successfully drew a charge on a drive due to good positioning. He also was active in rotating to successfully contest shots on drives, and he also held his ground when defending in the post to force a miss. However, he would tend to get outmuscled when defending in the post, and he also sometimes struggled to stay in front of his man, which would lead him to allow scores.
In summary, John Petty is a very athletic swingman that showed that he can score on off-ball motion plays, and he also rebounded and defended well in this game. He struggled to knock down outside shots, but he ended up shooting the ball very well during the 2019-20 college basketball season. He is a talented player that will be a player to watch throughout the upcoming season, and Petty could end up being a likely second round pick in 2021.
Tennessee’s 6-6 forward, Yves Pons is a very athletic, high-motor player that excelled as a scorer, rebounder, and defender on the court, but he did struggle with turnovers on the offensive end. Still, he was able to make a clutch block near the game’s end to help seal the win for his team over Alabama.
Pons did a decent job of scoring in the post. He was able to use a pivot and step-through move to score on a powerful, two-handed dunk, and he also managed to score on a strong put back off of an offensive rebound. He did miss on a turnaround jumper, as well as on a rushed put back, but Pons showed that he can be a very athletic, strong finisher to score in the paint. He also did a good job of scoring off the dribble. Pons would tend to go to his left, and he would drive hard to the hoop to get scores and free throws due to possessing solid foot-speed, body control, and finishing ability.
He also generally shot the ball well in this game. Pons used a pump fake to make an open, corner three off the catch. Another time, he ran off the ball to make a quick, open mid-range jumper. He did miss on a spot-up three another time, but Pons generally excelled at making spot-up jumpers within the limited touches he received on offense.
However, Pons was quite turnover prone on offense. For the positives, Pons is an unselfish player that would look to move the basketball. However, Pons would tend to throw hasty passes that would get intercepted, and he also would tend to dribble himself into situations that would be difficult for him to make plays on offense. On one play, he committed a charging foul when driving right to the hoop. On another play, he dropped an entry pass, and he ended up getting the ball poked off of himself to lose it that time.
Pons also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. He is an energetic, high-motor combo forward that is relentless in his pursuit of the basketball, and Pons would leap up to get numerous boards. He also showed that he can get tough boards routinely in traffic.
Pons also played fairly good defense. He is a very good shot blocker, especially for a player his size. Pons possesses very good athleticism, length, and timing, and he can defend out on the perimeter as well as in the post to swat shots. He blocked a shot ferociously off the glass once, and he also swatted two shots in the paint other times. Pons also would use his length to contest three-point shots to force misses. Sometimes though, he would tend to be caught ball watching, and he would be late to pick up a man, which would lead his team to allow scores. Sometimes though, he would get beat off the dribble, as he can occasionally struggle to guard quicker players out on the perimeter.
Overall, Yves Pons is a very athletic, energetic combo forward that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he also could project to be a very good defensive player at the NBA level. He will need to show that he can consistently knock down outside shots and improve his decision-making ability on offense. Right now, he projects to be a second round prospect for the 2020 NBA Draft, and in a favorable scenario, he could end up being an effective role player similar to former Golden State Warriors’ forward, Matt Barnes in the NBA.
Tennessee’s then-senior swingman, Jordan Bowden played fairly well in his team’s win over Alabama. He didn’t particularly shoot the ball well, but he excelled as a scorer on offense, and he also did a very good job of rebounding and defending when he was on the court.
Bowden showed a decent ability to score on quick, aggressive drives to the hoop. He was able to score with either hand, and he would frequently draw free throws by taking the ball hard to the rim. He also ran to get the ball off of a curl cut, and he used a power dribble to score on an acrobatic, reverse layup another time. Sometimes though, he had trouble creating separation when handling the ball in traffic, which would lead him to miss tough shots around the basket.
However, he struggled to consistently knock down jumpers in this game. For the positives, Bowden did a good job of making mid-range jump shots. He was able to make a mid-range floater after getting the ball on a dribble handoff. Another time, he ran off of a stagger screen to score quickly on a long, two-point shot from the corner. However, Bowden had trouble making spot-up or pull-up jumpers consistently, and he was unable to make any of his three-point shots from beyond the arc.
He also displayed adequate playmaking skills. Bowden is an unselfish player that can quickly get to the rim, and he would find open shooters to set up scoring chances for them. On the downside, he did commit a couple of turnovers. He was called for traveling on a drive once. Another time, he threw a weak pass that was intended for a roll man, and it ended up getting picked off by a defender.
Also, Bowden did a good job of grabbing rebounds to help his team on both ends of the floor, and he excelled at chasing down balls to get boards. Plus, Bowden also played very good defense in this game. He did a terrific job of getting steals and stops for his team. He would often jump passes to get steals and deflections, and he also would poke balls away to nearly force other turnovers. He also managed to fight through a screen on a dribble handoff to indirectly force a turnover another time. Bowden was also active in contesting three-point shots and shots off the dribble to force misses, and he would aggressively stay in front of his man to do so. Every once in a while, he would be late on his rotations and get beat off the dribble, but he usually played solid defense in this game.
Overall, Jordan Bowden is an athletic, energetic swingman that was able to consistently get to the rim to score the basketball, and he also played stellar defense in this game. He will need to make more outside shots consistently, and he struggled to make threes as a senior this past season. Right now, he is a borderline second round candidate for the 2020 draft. If things break his way, he could project to be an effective rotation player, as his defensive skills could potentially allow him to excel as a Quinton Ross-type of player in the NBA.
Tennessee’s 6-9 and soon-to-be, fifth-year senior forward, John Fulkerson had a terrific showing in his team’s one-point win over Alabama on this day. He is a high-motor, big man that has a surprisingly good leaping ability, and he excelled as an inside scorer and interior defender in this game.
John Fulkerson excelled as a low post scorer and rim runner on offense. He was efficient at making shots in the post, and he also managed to catch a lob off of a roll to the rim to score on a high-flying, alley-oop dunk. He did a good job of rolling hard to the hoop, which would enable him to get open scoring chances around the basket.
He also played solid defense in this game. Fulkerson is an above average athlete that has a very good motor, and he would hustle to block shots off of drives to help his team protect the paint. On the downside, he would sometimes be over-aggressive in hedging out onto pick and roll ball handlers, which would lead his team vulnerable to allowing scores to big man on rolls to the rim. He didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, but he was able to get several boards on both sides of the ball.
Overall, John Fulkerson is an energetic, rim runner that played very well in his team’s win over Alabama, and he could be a prospect to watch for the upcoming season. He has flown under the radar, but his high-motor style combined with having above average athletic gifts and interior skills could allow him to get a shot to compete for a roster spot in the NBA in the future. He will need to extend his shooting range and improve his perimeter skills, but he could project to be a backup big man in the association if things pan out for him.
For those that would like to know the box score of this game, it can be found here. Anyways, that is all for now, and thanks for reading.