The NBA Mock Draft 2017 speculation for the second round will begin to feature several new prospects including North Carolina’s Joel Berry II. The UNC guard just announced on Monday that he’ll test the waters of the NBA without signing with an agent. It’s a popular move made by some college stars who want to see if they’ll be better off returning for another season of college basketball, or if their skills are at the level NBA scouts like. That raises early guessing on where Berry stands as compared to another guard, Kansas’ Frank Mason, who declared eligibility.
According to Scout.com, two of Berry’s fellow Tar Heels teammates, junior Theo Pinson, and freshman Tony Bradley, have also filed the draft paperwork without hiring agents. The three players will have until May 24th to determine if they are going to be a part of the NBA Draft or return to college under head coach Roy Williams for another season. That’s 10 days after the NBA Combine has finished up. This will allow the three UNC players to show their skills off and get feedback. From there, they can determine if it makes sense to pursue a professional career or hone their skills some more for 2018’s draft.
Coach Williams of the reigning NCAA men’s basketball champions issued a statement with regards to the three players’ decisions to test the waters.
“We fully support our players taking this step of being evaluated by NBA teams to see where they stand in relation to the Draft. All three players have options to do what is best for their careers and going through the evaluation process helps them make the best decision available to each of them.”
The current NBA mock drafts that are online don’t reflect Berry within the first, or even second round. However, Draft Express is projecting he is No. 86 amongst the top 100 college basketball prospects in 2017. Berry averaged 14.9 points, 3.6 assists, 3.1 rebounds, and over one steal per game to help lead the Heels to a championship. The main aspect will be Berry impressing scouts to earn a spot. He’s got plenty of competition from younger guards with more upside that will go ahead of him, including Markelle Fultz of Washington, Lonzo Ball of UCLA, Dennis Smith of NC State, and De’Aaron Fox from Kentucky.
Another guard who seems like he should be taken in the NBA Draft ahead of Berry is Frank Mason III. The Kansas Jayhawks senior finished last season with averages of 20.9 points, 5.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game. He’s also got several seasons of experience on his resume heading into the professional league, something the other prospects ahead of him won’t be able to brag about. In addition to that, his excellence on the court paid off last season as he took home the 2017 Naismith Player of the Year.
Mason ranks at No. 70 amongst the top 100 prospects, but will could be limited regarding his draft spot due to his size, being 23-years-old, and the fact he has shown issues with scoring inside the arc. However, it’s being said he’ll get “plenty of looks in the second round.” Experience has to count for something, and coming from a school with the stature of Kansas’ program over the past years will certainly help.
As of this report, Mason is projected in a mock draft from Draft Express to go at the No. 60 spot, which could be to the Atlanta Hawks, or whoever is around that selection region. That’s right near the end of the draft’s second round, so he could go undrafted. It’s always possible that he will impress talent scouts when he auditions during the NBA combine, which is less than a month away. The same goes for Berry, Pinson, and Bradley. It’s quite possible that one or more of the trio will decide it’s best to go back for another season of experience to help improve their draft stock.
Other notable picks that could be taken in the second round this June might include Villanova shooting guard Josh Hart, Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo, as well as Oregon’s talented duo of Jordan Bell and Dillon Brooks. The official NBA Draft 2017 edition will arrive on Thursday, June 22nd, with fans of the 30 different teams eagerly watching to see which future stars land on their roster.
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