In what was not a surprise to anyone on Tar Takes, former North Carolina Tar Heels guard Joel Berry and forward Theo Pinson went undrafted in the 2018 NBA draft.
Almost immediately after the draft, Theo Pinson signed with the Brooklyn Nets and Joel Berry signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. Both guys, who have spent the past four years in Chapel Hill, will be moving to the bright lights of Brooklyn and Los Angeles.
But the question still remains, considering the fact they both ended up as undrafted rookies, can either one of them stick with their new NBA teams?
Out of the two, Berry might have the toughest path to being on an NBA roster come opening day for two reasons.
First, Berry is the worst of the two players from an NBA perspective. He has less room to grow athletically and is undersized for the position at just six-feet tall. The odds are against you if you are smaller and not a freak athlete.
Second, Berry is joining the Lakers. No one really knows what the team will exactly look like, but they are in the market for LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. So their roster is going to be a lot better than the Nets’, and Los Angeles has many solid young pieces, assuming they aren’t traded, in Lonzo Ball, Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and more.
So it might be hard for Berry to break through on a roster that is looking to sign all-stars and has a young core of talent already in place.
Moreover, the Lakers are the heavy favorites to land LeBron at the moment, per CBS Sports. As we know, LeBron has always wanted control over the roster he joins and has favored veteran players who can shoot the basketball.
Berry is a rookie and shot just 34.4 percent from three-point range last season for the Tar Heels. And that three-point line was more than two-feet closer than it is in the NBA.
We will see what Berry can do for the Lakers in the 2018 NBA Summer League, but his chance to make the team come October does not look good.
Pinson, who was the lesser- valued player in college, might actually have the best chance to break through to an NBA roster.
In terms of Pinson’s basketball ability, it is much easier to envision a role for him unlike Berry. Pinson, who is 6-foot-6, can do it all but shoot. He is extremely athletic (dunk below), can pass (5.1 assists per game in 2017/18), can finish (10.3 points per game), and is an unquestioned leader.
While it is insane to think he will be the next Draymond Green, he has all the qualities to become a poor man’s Green. And I would assume many teams would jump on the possibility of having a player like Draymond.
Now, that doesn’t mean it will happen but it is easier to keep a player on your team if you have a clear vision of what they could become.
Furthermore, Brooklyn is among the worst teams in the league. So it is easier to make the team, and it is in no rush to find talent that can produce immediately. The Nets can take their time to develop Pinson because he could become a solid player if he learns to shoot decently.
Tar Heel fans, if you want to stay updated on Berry and Pinson’s efforts in the NBA, they can be watched during the NBA’s Summer League from July 2-17.
Ryan is currently a student at the University of North Carolina. He grew up in the Bay Area and has had Raiders season tickets his entire life fostering his love for the NFL. He has founded his own sports website, thejrreport.com and works at the Sports Desk for the Daily Tar Heel. You can follow Ryan on twitter @rytime98 if you want to discuss anything sports.