The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t take a break after they got done with what was already a busy 2018 NBA Draft night for the team, signing Malik Newman to one of their pair of two-way contracts and also adding Joel Berry II to start undrafted free agency, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.
Sources: Undrafted Kansas guard Malik Newman has agreed to a two-way contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 22, 2018
North Carolina’s Joel Berry II has agreed to an undrafted free-agent deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources tell Yahoo.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 22, 2018
Berry was four-year standout at UNC and part of national championship team in 2017.
The team didn’t stop there, also signing Jeffrey Carroll of Oklahoma State to an Exhibit 10 deal, which allows the Lakers to guarantee him money while still having the freedom to convert his contract into a two-way contract before the start of the season:
The Los Angeles Lakers and Jeffrey Carroll (Oklahoma State) have agreed to an Exhibit 10 deal, a league source told The Athletic.— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) June 22, 2018
Update: Carroll confirmed that report on Twitter.
Malik Newman appears to be pretty easily the most likely of these names to actually make an impact on the Lakers. The Kansas guard was the 58th-ranked prospect on Jonathan Givony of ESPN’s list of the top 100 2018 NBA Draft prospects, and he averaged 14.2 points five rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 46.3 percent from the field in his sophomore season with the Jayhawks.
For a deeper scouting report on Newman, I reached out to Scott Chasen of 247Sports, who covered Newman locally for the Lawrence Journal-World and Topeka Capital-Journal:
After transferring from Mississippi State to KU, the plan was always for Malik Newman to play one year and then go pro. He came into the season with high expectations, with some in the program believing he’d lead the team in scoring. Ultimately, he got off to a slow start, though he did hit a huge shot in the team’s second game against Kentucky. Newman broke out with a 27-point outing in conference play against Iowa State. By the time the postseason came around, he became a different player.
Newman had six 20 point games in the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments. He scored 30 in the Big 12 tournament opener against Oklahoma State, went off against Seton Hall in the Round of 32 and dropped 32 against Duke in the Elite Eight. He also guarded Grayson Allen in that game and did a phenomenal job defensively.
Newman can score from just about anywhere on the court. He’s a great shooter, can work in the mid-range and has a knack for getting to the rim and finishing. He didn’t draw a ton of free throws, but he developed this reputation as a guy that would get to the cup late in games when other teams would start to wear down. He isn’t a great facilitator and needs to improve his handle, but he still has time to work on those parts of his game.
Defensively, Newman was inconsistent. He’s actually a pretty decent on-ball defender, but he isn’t great off-ball. He is, however, a tremendous defensive rebounder for his size. He can go up and snatch a board and then start a break, which should be a valuable tool in the NBA.
All of those make Newman sound like a pretty solid get for a guy on a two-way contract, and his advanced numbers are also pretty decent:
Malik Newman— Cranjis McBasketball (@T1m_NBA) June 22, 2018
Top NBA comps: Cedi Osman, DeMarre Carroll, Abdel Nader, Danny Green, Kelly Oubre Jr.
Offensive Role: Spot Up Wing, 44th %ile poss share
D-PIPM: 8th https://t.co/qg75gLgJbx
As for Berry II and Jeffrey Carroll, neither is likely to make the Lakers’ full-time roster. Carroll was the 96th overall prospect on Givony’s big board, while Berry II was not listed.
Either player could potentially use a strong showing on either of the Lakers’ summer league teams to start a debate on whether or not they should play a bigger role going forward, but for now it seems safe to assume that Newman is the main get here.