The party that was NBA All-Star weekend has now ended and the NBA season is scheduled to continue once again Tuesday. With the first half now behind us and ready for examination, I’ve decided to breakdown some of the top former Heels so far in the regular season. Here is a list of the top five Tar Heels through one-half of the 2012-13 NBA season.
Harrison Barnes Forward Golden State Warriors
Rookie Harrison Barnes has found his way onto several highlight reels and top plays countdowns due to his phenomenal dunks throughout the first half of the season. Barnes has played a vital role in the Golden State Warriors ranking second in their Pacific Division and sixth overall in the Western Conference at the break. The man known as the Black Falcon is averaging 9.3 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game, and 1.5 assists per game. He is shooting 44.9 % from the field, 36.6 % from three-point range, and 72.6 % from the free-throw line. Though the free-throw percentage could use a little work, which I’m confident will be over 80% by seasons end, Barnes is only averaging just over 1 turnover a game(1.2). In his first season at the half-way point, Barnes has also started 51 of his teams 52 games while averaging over 25 minutes a game.
Tyler Zeller Center-Forward Cleveland Cavaliers
Another rookie in big man Tyler Zeller has also started his NBA career by making a positive first impression. Zeller is averaging 8 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game, 1 block per game, and just 1.4 turnovers per game. He is shooting 41.9 % from the field and 76.7 % from the free-throw line averaging 27.6 minutes per game. Zeller has also started 27 of the Cavaliers 49 games in the first half of the season due to an injury to Anderson Varejao who normally starts. Since Varejao’s injury, Tyler Zeller is averaging more than 31 minutes a game in the starting lineup for Cleveland. If Damian Lillard wasn’t making all the other rookies look so bad, Zeller and Barnes may be part of a heated battle for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award.
Vince Carter Guard-Forward Dallas Mavericks
The Tar Heel legend formerly known a “Vince-sanity” has started the first half of this NBA season on a tear coming off the bench for the Dallas Mavericks. Vince Carter is averaging 13 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game, and 2 assists per game. He is shooting 42.9 % from the field, 40.4 % from the three-point line, and 80.9 % from the free-throw line. Carter is on pace to shoot his best percentage from behind the arc since 2004-05, the year he was traded from Toronto to New Jersey. Carter is also averaging over 25 minutes while committing just 1.2 turnovers per game. The 14-year veteran Vince Carter passed a significant legend this year in Larry Bird, for 34th all-time in points scored in NBA history. There are only five active players ahead of Carter on the all-time scoring list, and each of them are sure shot Hall of Famers.
Danny Green Guard-Forward San Antonio Spurs
Danny Green over the last two seasons in San Antonio has become an integral part of what the Spurs do to be successful night in and night out. The Spurs currently hold the best record in the NBA at 42-12,(6 more wins than the beloved Miami Heat) and Green has started in 52 of the 54 games thus far for San Antonio. Green is averaging 10.2 points per game, 3.3 rebounds per game, 1.5 assists per game, and 1.1 steals per game. Now in his fourth season out of UNC, Danny Green is headed for career highs in just about every statistical category. He is shooting 44.3 % from the field, 42.4 % from behind the three-point arc, and 85.4 % from the free-throw line. Green is also averaging 27.4 minutes per game and just 1.1 turnovers per game.
Ty Lawson Guard Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets currently sit second in their Northwest Division and fifth overall in the Western Conference thanks in large part to the consistent play of point guard Ty Lawson. Out of the 54 games Denver has played thus far, Lawson has started in 52 of them. Now in his fourth season, the 5’11” point guard Lawson is averaging 15.8 points per game, 7.1 assists per game, 1.6 steals per game, and 2.6 rebounds per game. He is averaging 34.8 minutes per game while shooting 44.5 % from the field, 74.4 % from the free-throw line, and 38.2 % from behind the three-point line. At just 2.8 turnovers per game, the former Chapel Hill star Lawson is averaging less turnovers a game than Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and even the reigning MVP LeBron James.