Marcel Ponitka (97’) is a rising star of Asseco / Arka Gdynia having a lot to prove this season in the games to come primarily on the international arena. Eligible for the draft in 2017, alongside Michal Kolenda was one of the two players representing Poland at NBA Global Camp. Managed to present himself very well with pretty good statlines. Ultimately polish prospect decided to give himself more time to showcase his talents and better prepare for NBA draft resulting in opting out.
He already debuted either in senior national team and Euroleague but this week he got some valuable experience in bigger role, playing 31 minutes in Eurocup game against Kuban Lokomotiv Krasnodar. It wasn’t a particularly impressive performance (3pts, 1/3 FG, 4reb, 2ast, 1stl and 3TOs), but he played hard and flashed his defensive potential, guarding tightly against former Brooklyn Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead and forcing couple a of turnovers.
After attending this game and following his development for a while I decided to put together scouting report on him:
PHYSICAL PROFILE & OFFENSE
Possess great frame for a backcourt player, standing at 6’4’’, 200 pounds. Ponitka is a very well built, athletic combo guard that feels natural with the ball in his hands. His talent is best utilized at the point, with improving playmaking instincts, seeing a lot on the court, predicting the plays and delivering the ball to open teammates. Especially dangerous on the Pick and Roll, executing the sets nicely, finding the gaps and often sending the ball to the rollers with creative bounce passes. Lately he mastered hesitation dribble when defender goes below the screen which combined with his strength + burst allow him to get downhill. Ponitka is able to control the pace of the game, conducts and gives instructions to his team. He doesn’t possess great wiggle but has decent ball handling skills using either hand, penetrates the defense regularly, draws attention, makes opponents work and creates open shot opportunities for others. He is effective and probably the most reliable at the moment on such a high level playing on “2” in a dual Point Guard setup by moving without the ball, back cutting to the rim for easy lay ups or to snatch an offensive rebound besides just organizing the offense. He can’t really pull up from the long range and his game is based on squeezing as much as he can from a Pick and Roll situations and attacking the defence. Needs to work on his shot a little bit to be more respected and guarded tighter by the defenders and improve mid range array which should make his drives even easier.
DEFENSE & FIT
Marcel is a fair defender on both guard positions, not afraid of physical contact and an occasional scrap in the paint. He is tough minded, loves to compete and gets back on defense quickly. When protecting the basket always stays still and puts his hands up to disturb the opponent. Also sacrificing his body to draw a charge is not a problem for him. He is quick on his feet, likes to put pressure on the ball handler, force a bad pass, poke the ball loose and fight for it.
The best scenario for Ponitka would be to play in a team with mobile bigs able to play Pick and Roll/Pop and good shooters from the distance stretching the floor for his drives. He can definitely excel in uptempo style and run the team better in such environment.
As for now, he can be compared to Eric Bledsoe from the body type but is more focused on playmaking as his shot creation is worse and he lacks that level of freakish equilibristic and scoring instincts. Trust from the coach to be given more responsibility as main PG is crucial for his development and reaching full potential which could possibly be the Eurocup teams with bigger budget in foreign countries.