Davion Berry is perhaps the most interesting player to go undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft. He is a talented shooting guard out of Weber State that sat right on the cusp of the 60th pick. Because he played college ball in the Big Sky Conference, many teams were understandably hesitant to give him a look, though a few of them gave him a workout (Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers, Indiana Pacers). Unfortunately for Berry, none of the teams that worked him out had a late enough pick in the draft to justify consideration. He is thought to be one of the most likely undrafted players to receive a training camp invite.
Because he went to Weber State, let’s get the inevitable Damian Lillard parallels out of the way. They are far from the same player, but their pedigree is eerily similar. Both came out of Oakland, both played for Weber State University, both stayed for four seasons, both led the team in scoring by a wide margin their senior year, and both were named Big Sky Player of the Year in their final season. Interestingly, their time at Weber State even overlapped, though Berry red-shirted his freshman and sophomore year.
What can Berry offer the Portland Trail Blazers in Las Vegas Summer League?
Position: shooting guard
School: Weber State
Weight: 185 lbs
PTS/Game: 19.2 (senior)
Lights-out shooter with a quick first step and above average defense.
Berry has phenomenal shooting mechanics. He squares his body and has a quick release, making him ideal for the pick and roll. He also has great elevation on his jump shot, which allows him to capitalize on his size/length to score over opponents. This is evident in his deep and mid-range game, where he thrived for his team (39.7 percent on 3PT field goals, 52.0 percent on 2PT field goals).
Berry is quick in both the open court and half-court offense. He can finish equally well at the rim with either hand, making him difficult to guard in transition. He is also not afraid of contact and will force a foul by catching defenders on their heels.
On defense, Berry is nothing extraordinary, but he plays a tight game. His lateral quickness allows him to keep his man in front of him at all times. He doesn’t get caught ball watching and he plays with full engagement. Gambling is out of the ordinary for him, but his consistent effort landed him an equally consistent steal each game as a senior.
Sometimes struggles to create high percentage shots. High dribble invites turnovers.
While Berry is quick, he is not always smooth. If he does not have a straight line to the rim he can get himself into trouble trying to create one. Successfully zigging and zagging is not quite in his repertoire just yet. This creates shot selection issues when he can’t beat his man to the hoop, or worse, turnovers. He is not yet a polished ball handler, which causes some concern after four years in college.
Berry reminds me a bit of a young Wesley Matthews. He plays above average defense, has below average handles, and is an exceptional three-point shooter. By that token, he has a decent chance to impress the Trail Blazers, as they hope to replicate Matthews with a two-way bench player. Since Will Barton’s contract is non-guaranteed and we don’t know which guard position C.J. McCollum will be primarily backing up, there is a small window for Berry to achieve relevance at a low cost.
Bear in mind that 19 times out of 20 an undrafted summer league invitee ends up floating through the D-league or playing overseas, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First things first, we will see how he performs in summer league. If he gets minutes and impresses with them, perhaps training camp is in his future. Nothing is assured—especially before we know what the Trail Blazers will do in free agency—but I am eager to see what becomes of this particular youngster.