UNC Basketball: NBA Draft projections for former Tar Heels

GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 03: Joel Berry II
GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 03: Joel Berry II /

A pair of Tar Heels have a chance of being drafted this year, but where will they go?

The illustrious college careers of former Tar Heels Theo Pinson and Joel Berry II have come to an end. That duo, along with Justin Jackson, brought some incredible memories to UNC fans over the four years they spent in Chapel Hill.

But now those two are looking to make the leap to the next level, much like Jackson did last year.

Over the course of the 2017-18 season, Jackson became a nice fit for the Sacramento Kings. Their rebuild has given him plenty of minutes to grow into a better NBA player.

Theo Pinson could need the same in the NBA.

In case you forgot, let me remind you: It took Pinson a while to find his footing in Chapel Hill. Yes, he was injured much of his freshman and sophomore seasons, but when he was healthy, he wasn’t great until late in his sophomore year.

It took Pinson having time and a long leash to become a good player and that is what it will take in the NBA.

CHARLOTTE, NC – MARCH 18: Theo Pinson
CHARLOTTE, NC – MARCH 18: Theo Pinson /

Maybe going to a team that is rebuilding would be the best thing for Pinson. At the moment, NBADraft.net has Pinson going 60th overall to the Philadelphia 76ers. Pinson and the 76ers would be a great fit. Sure, Philadelphia is on the brink of being competitive in the playoffs, but they could still use a player like Pinson.

Imagine having Ben Simmons in the starting lineup and allowing Pinson to come off the bench and find his groove. Pinson could learn from one of the best all-around players in the league during his first couple of years.

Either way, it looks like Pinson is going to go around the end of the second round. If he goes to the combine, he will have a good chance of measuring out well. We all know about his athleticism, but his length could really set him apart from the other late round picks.

I see Pinson doing well at the combine and working his way into the late second round with a team looking toward the future.

As for Joel Berry, the situation is completely different.

Berry is a player who has already reached his ceiling. If we are being honest, there is not a lot that he can add to his game. His time with the Tar Heels was probably the best he can become. The best situation for him would be to go to a contending team, who is in need of a solid third-string point guard.

One spot that comes to mind for Berry is the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder currently own two picks at the end of the second round. They also currently have former Tar Heel Raymond Felton as a backup point guard. That situation would be ideal for Berry.

He could learn the NBA culture from two long-timeprofessionals like Felton and Russell Westbrook. Berry may never be an All-Star player in the league, but he could be a very serviceable backup guard.

At the moment, Berry is not in many NBA mock drafts. But much like Pinson, if he gets a chance at the NBA combine, he will shine. Coaches and GM’s are always looking for a hard-nosed guard who can shoot show leadership skills. Berry checks all those boxes.

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I see Berry going undrafted, but that is not a bad thing. That means he could have his choice of where he goes to training camp next year. It would allow Berry to put himself in the best situation where he is comfortable.