This NBA offseason has been full of franchise-altering signings and trades that have sent the league’s top players all over the place. A particularly notable development was when All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving decided to team up and take their talents to the Nets. For Carolina fans, however, the most meaningful occurrence in Brooklyn was the re-signing of former Tar Heel standout and national champion, Theo Pinson, to a two-year contract.
After failing to hear his name called in the 2018 NBA draft, Pinson was given an opportunity in Brooklyn and has since never looked back. He just capped off an extremely impressive Rookie campaign with the Nets organization. Pinson averaged a team-high 20.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 6.1 assists while playing in and starting 34 games for Brooklyn’s G League affiliate, the Long Island Nets. His efforts earned him spots on the All-NBA G League Second Team as well as the NBA G League All-Rookie Team.
Pinson’s immense success in the G League prompted the Nets’ front office to call him up to Brooklyn on April 10th of this year. In 18 games with Brooklyn, he averaged 4.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 11.7 minutes per game. Though he didn’t receive many critical minutes, Pinson was very solid and appeared comfortable in his time playing against the best basketball players in the world.
Tar Heel fans will always remember Pinson as one of the most fun and entertaining players to come through Chapel Hill, but also as one of the most accomplished players to don the Carolina blue. His two ACC regular season championships, two NCAA title appearances, and national championship compose a remarkable list of achievements. On the court, Pinson was known as the jack-of-all trades guy who could do just about everything well. However, one thing he never excelled at was shooting the three.
For whatever reason, Pinson struggled from deep in each of his four seasons at UNC, failing to ever eclipse 29% from outside. Perhaps shooting concerns were why he was not selected in the draft, but worry no more. Pinson was somewhat of a sniper in his time as a high-volume scorer in the G League, shooting 39% on more than eight attempts per game. It’s great to see him finally start to realize his full potential as both a shooter and scorer.
Right now, it’s unclear exactly what Pinson’s role will be with the Nets this upcoming season. Based on team policy, the terms of the deal have not been released. What we do know is that Pinson has already shown all 30 NBA teams that they made a mistake by not taking him in the draft, so expect him to continue playing with that chip on his shoulder.