Lakers Rookie Joel Berry II Has NBA Rookie Of The Year Aspirations
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers had three picks in the 2018 NBA Draft, which they used to select Michigan big man Moritz Wagner (25th overall), Isaac Bonga (39th) and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (47th).

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However, their night did not end with those three. The Lakers added three undrafted prospects by signing Malik Newman, Jeffrey Carroll and Joel Berry II. Only Berry and Carroll remain, as Newman, who was signed to a two-way contract, was cut last month.

Much of the undrafted free agent attention shifts towards Berry, who led the University of North Carolina to the national championship in 2017, winning Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

Berry is coming off of a senior season in which he averaged 17.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. He presumably will see the bulk of his playing time with the Lakers G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers.

However, Berry has a mindset of wanting to earn NBA Rookie of the Year Honors, per Drew Ruiz of HoopsHype:

“I’ve set high goals for myself. My first plan is just to make the official roster. But having to take the path I’m taking – being undrafted and having to do a lot of pre-draft workouts – getting a chance with the Lakers was the first goal of mine. So now it’s taking it step by step, making the roster and once I get on the roster, I want to be able to contribute and play. My goal is not just to make it to the NBA, but be somebody one day. That’s what I’m striving for. I’m going to set high goals for myself and I want to be in the talks of winning Rookie of the Year. I know that’s a long way and I have to do a lot, but those are the goals I want to set for myself.”

This will obviously be a tough task for Berry, as the signing of Michael Beasley seemingly took the 15th and final roster spot for the Lakers this season. But his work ethic appears to be right where it needs to be.

If he is able to crack the roster and given the opportunity to play, he has the skillset needed to be successful. And while it would require some maneuvering on the Lakers behalf, getting him on the actual roster could be a move the Lakers make at some point this season. So while its unlikely, Berry putting on a Lakers jersey would help to fulfill some of his dreams.

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