UNC Basketball: Tar Heels In The Pros Update: February 27

Sep 26, 2022; Portland, WA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Nassir Little (10) poses for a portrait during the teams media day. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2022; Portland, WA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Nassir Little (10) poses for a portrait during the teams media day. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /

After a little break, we’re back for another edition of Tar Heels in the Pros. For UNC basketball fans, it’s been a rough college season, but a few of the NBA guys continue to excel.

Like the Tar Heels, UNC’s pro players have had a difficult few weeks. Tony Bradley, waived by the Chicago Bulls, is still without an NBA home. Justin Jackson is now in the G-League, as he tries to work his way back into the NBA.

Some veterans, like Harrison Barnes and Cam Johnson, haven’t been nearly as consistent as of late. On a positive note, last season’s fan favorite Brady Manek has signed a deal in Turkey for the remainder of the season. Meanwhile, check out how the former UNC basketball guys are doing in the NBA:

Cole Anthony: Orlando Magic

Anthony continues to be inconsistent in his scoring outputs on a nightly basis. With his minutes fluctuating constantly, that’s kind of expected. On the week, the point guard scored a total of 23 points in two games. He played just 34 minutes while going seven-for-19 (36.8%) from the field.

Season Stats: 41 Games Played (3 starts), 12.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 4.1 APG

Harrison Barnes: Sacramento Kings

The Kings continue to show they aren’t going away anytime soon, and Barnes continues to be a steady presence. Lately though, he hasn’t played his best ball. Over his last nine games now, the veteran forward is averaging just 11.0 points per game, while going 31-for-79 (39.2%) from the field.

He continues to see a ton of minutes for the Kings, but his three-ball in particular has been a struggle. During that nine-game stretch, he has failed to make multiple three-pointers in a single contest. Barnes is seven-for-31 (22.6%) from distance in that time, so he needs to bounce back this upcoming week.

Season Stats: 60 Games Played (60 starts), 14.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 46.9 FG%

Reggie Bullock: Dallas Mavericks

With the recent trade for Kyrie Irving, Reggie Bullock’s role becomes more important for the Mavericks down the stretch. He’s failed to reach double-figures in four of his last five games now, as his scoring opportunities are limited more than ever. The three-point specialist is still shooting it well though, as he’s at a 37.5% clip on the season.

On the week, Bullock had 18 points and nine rebounds in two games, which included six makes from downtown. The Mavs blew a huge lead to the Lakers on Sunday, as they need to win some games down the stretch in order to lock in a playoff spot.

Season Stats: 60 Games Played (37 starts), 6.9 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 37.5 3PT%

Cameron Johnson: Brooklyn Nets

Johnson had his best game as a member of the Nets on Sunday, scoring 27 points against the Hawks, making all seven of his shots inside the arc. Since the trade, he’s shot just 30% from three-point range in five games with the Nets.

The sharpshooter continues to improve other areas of his game though, specifically on the defensive end. With the Nets, he is averaging 29 minutes per game so far, an uptick of about four minutes from his time with the Suns.

Season Stats: 22 Games Played (21 starts), 14.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 41.0 3PT%

Walker Kessler: Utah Jazz

Kessler continues to be the perfect Rudy Gobert replacement for the Jazz. In two games, Kessler snagged 30 rebounds and blocked 12 shots. He’s become quite the dynamic rim protector and defender, similar to what Gobert provided them for years.

The center continues to see more and more playing time, as the Jazz push to make the postseason. While he’s failed to score double-digit points in four of his last five contests, the Jazz are more than happy with his impact in other areas.

Season Stats: 59 Games Played (25 starts), 8.2 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.2 BPG

Nassir Little: Portland Trail Blazers

Little enjoyed his best week of the season, albeit it being just two games. In Thursday’s loss against Harrison Barnes and the Kings, Little put up 26 points, three rebounds, and four steals. He excelled once again on Sunday, racking up 11 points, nine rebounds, and two assists in 20 minutes.

In the two games, Little went eight-for-12 (66.7%) from three-point range. He continues to show a ton of improvement in that aspect of his game, as he’s up to 42.6% on the year now. For UNC basketball, it was actually a weakness of his game for the lone season he was there. As his shooting and defense continue to get better, the forward should see more minutes down the stretch.

Season Stats: 39 Games Played (2 starts), 6.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 42.6 3PT%

Theo Pinson: Dallas Mavericks

Pinson has been appearing in more games recently, as the trade of Dorian Finney-Smith helped his playing time. As Tar Heel fans know, Pinson isn’t really on the court to be a scorer. In his past two contests, which have totaled 25 minutes, the former UNC basketball glue guy hasn’t scored.

Season Stats: 33 Games Played (0 starts), 7.2 MPG, 1.9 PPG, 1.2 RPG

Day’Ron Sharpe: Brooklyn Nets

Sharpe appeared in Friday’s blowout loss to the Bulls, where he got 16 minutes of action. He didn’t have much to show for in the box score, as he had just two points, three rebounds, and two blocks. The former UNC basketball center hasn’t reached double-figures since December.

Season Stats: 33 Games Played (2 starts), 3.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 0.6 BPG

Coby White: Chicago Bulls

White has had some scoring outbursts recently, including a 25-point performance on February 15th, but it’s been mostly inconsistent. In a situation similar to Anthony’s, White is relied on as a microwave scorer off the bench. This past week, he had 22 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists in two games.

Season Stats: 53 Games Played (1 start), 8.9 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2.0 APG

Heels in the G-League:

Garrison Brooks: Westchester Knicks

Despite his team going 0-2 on the week, Brooks put in two stellar performances. He averaged 22.0 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in the two contests. The forward continues to be one of the team’s best players.

Season Stats: 18 Games Played, 13.3 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 57.8 FG%

Justin Jackson

Jackson clung onto a G-League team shortly after the Thunder waived him. One of the best shooters in UNC basketball history, he struggled in his first two games. While he scored 13 points in each of the two contests, he went four-for-20 (20.0%) from the three-point range.

Season Stats: 2 Games Played, 13.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 32.3 FG%

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