The Los Angeles Lakers have signed undrafted rookie free agent Joel Berry II out of the University of North Carolina, the team announced on Wednesday.
Though terms of Berry’s deal have not yet been disclosed, it’s likely the deal is only at most partially guaranteed. It’s also possible the Lakers have signed Berry to an Exhibit 10 deal, which would allow them to convert his non or partially guaranteed contract to a two-way contract. The latter would make sense if the team is planning on releasing Malik Newman or Alex Caruso, who currently vacate both of the Lakers’ two-way spots.
Berry was part of the Lakers’ 13-man summer league roster, but didn’t play in a single game due to an ankle injury. However, Berry was so impressive during his four-year collegiate career that the Lakers have offered him a contract.
In his senior season at UNC, Berry averaged 17.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals in 33.1 minutes per game. His stellar performance last season earned him All-ACC honors and consideration for John Wooden award. He was also named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament in 2017, the year North Carolina won.
Heres what Silver Screen and Roll’s in-house draft express had to say about the 23-year-old point guard in his thorough Lakers summer league preview:
“If you have watched college basketball at all over the past three seasons, you have been exposed at some level to Berry, a consistent presence on some very successful UNC squads that twice reached the NCAA title game. NBA scouts and front offices are victims of familiarity as much as the rest of us, so seeing someone with Berry’s background managing to catch on with a team in this environment is unsurprising – teams are comfortable with the big programs, the systems and coaches the players in those programs operate under, and how players of similar ilk have made the transition in the past.
This is relevant to Berry since he does not have an awful lot going for him as a prospect, being a relatively diminutive guard who has always relied on rather inconsistent shooting volume from behind the arc (a big drop to a 34.4 3P% his senior year after 37.6% and 38.3% marks the previous two years) to fill in his points, while only being a so-so distributor for someone who can only play and defend one position at the next level.”
The chances of the Lakers using their 15th roster spot on a fringe NBA prospect are slim, but then again, they did willingly sign Tyler Ennis last season.
Expect a number of new signings to be announced in the coming weeks as the Lakers prep their roster for training camp in September. Teams can have up to 20 players before the start of the regular season.