With the holidays upon us and roughly a third of the season completed, now seems like a good time to check in on the former Tar Heels in the NBA. There are ten players who have participated in at least 13 games this season. Let’s start with those who most recently donned the Carolina blue.
After getting drafted 15th overall by the Sacramento Kings in 2017, things haven’t gone quite as well as Jackson may have hoped. Still, he has provided some solid minutes for the Kings and has a chance to carve out a long, steady NBA career.
Jackson is averaging 6.9 points, 1.3 assists, and 2.6 rebounds per game this season after averaging 6.7, 1.1, and 2.8 his rookie season. He is up to 36% shooting from deep after shooting 31% last year.
Bullock has really started to find his stride this season with the Detroit Pistons, especially as of late. He’s averaging 11.9 points on 40% shooting from three this year. In the last ten games, he’s averaging 18.2 points, and he’s shooting 46% from deep in the month of December.
Barnes got his championship ring with the Golden State Warriors, but since joining the Dallas Mavericks, he’s been able to enjoy a much bigger role. He’s averaging 18.4 points per game and, despite a slight decrease in overall field goal percentage (45% to 43%), he’s notching an impressive 42% from beyond the arc.
With Luka Doncic now in the fold, the Mavs have a legitimate shot at being a playoff team.
Henson has had a roller coaster type of season. First, his scoring and shooting efficiency numbers dropped off a bit (8.8 ppg to 5.6 ppg, 57% to 46%). Then, in late November he had to have wrist surgery that will likely keep him out for the rest of the season. Most recently, he was traded away from the Milwaukee Bucks, the team he had spent his entire career with, to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Hopefully, Henson can get back on track next season.
Many were unsure of Davis’ decision to go pro after such a disastrous 2009-2010 season, but he has managed to enjoy an extended career in the league. Davis is currently averaging 5.8 points and 8.3 rebounds for the Brooklyn Nets, and he’s providing some efficient minutes, shooting 61% from the field.
Green was perhaps the least heralded of the four Tar Heels that got drafted in 2009 as he was the only one that went in the second round. However, he has ended up with the steadiest career. After spending the majority of his time with the San Antonio Spurs, Green was traded to the Toronto Raptors this season, and has helped them secure first place in the Eastern Conference standings. Green is averaging 9.7 points with a 41% clip from deep, and he’s shooting an almost automatic 93% from the free throw line.
Ellington is the only other Tar Heel from that draft class still in the league. He is coming off a season with the Heat where he notched the highest scoring average of his career at 11.2. This season, Ellington is averaging 8.3 ppg, 1.4 apg, and 1.1 spg. The Heat are currently in position to secure a playoff spot, sitting at seventh in the conference.
Ever since winning a national title in his lone season in Chapel Hill in 2005, Williams has experienced a lengthy NBA career, currently in his fourteenth season. He’s currently averaging 9.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists for the Charlotte Hornets.
Felton has also had an impressive stay in the NBA, but he’s taken a slight step back this season. After serving a semi-prominent bench role for the Oklahoma City Thunder last season, Felton is playing six less minutes per game. He’s averaging 4.9 points and 1.8 assists per game. He also recently received a one-game suspension for his involvement in a scuffle during the Bulls/Thunder game.
Carter is still currently winning his battle against time. He’s now playing in an incredible 21st season in the NBA. Though he no longer takes on the type of workload he once did, Carter’s efficiency numbers combined with his veteran leadership are huge assets. He’s averaging 7.3 points and 2.7 rebounds while shooting 44% from the field and 37% from three. He has even made plays here and there reminiscent of the high-flying, uber-athletic guard that rocked the NBA when he was drafted all the way back in 1998.