Well-Heeled NBA, Thanks To Ex-UNC Standouts
The Dallas Mavericks?
With three former UNC basketball standouts on its roster, perhaps the NBA team should be called the Dallas Tar Heels.
Along with the high-flying Vince Carter, now in his 16th season, Mark Cuban’s team also boasts Brandan Wright and Wayne Ellington.
Carter may be in the twilight of his career, but he’s still averaging close to 12 points per game, while Wright drops in about 10 per tilt and Ellington records 3.6 per contest.
Like Carter, Antawn Jamison is no longer an NBA star, though his stock has dropped even more precipitously than his ex-Tar Heel teammate. Jamison, recently dealt from the Clippers to the Hawks, is averaging just 3.8 points per game in limited minutes, a far cry from the six 20+ points-per-game seasons he has posted.
It could be worse, and is for Brendan Haywood as the 12-year pro is finally looking to take the court this week after recovering from a stress fracture in his left foot. Haywood has been a serviceable pro, averaging 6.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, and could be an important reserve down the stretch for the playoff-likely Bobcats.
The Knicks are on the outskirts of the playoff race this season and the erratic play of Raymond Felton is part of the reason why. Felton, understandably “distracted” by recent gun charges and ongoing divorce litigation, scored 18 points in a recent win over the ‘Wolves but followed with just 10 points total in his next two contests.
The Jazz are even further out of the postseason picture in the highly competitive West, but Marvin Williams has been a bright spot in Salt Lake. He’s averaging nearly 10 points with over five rebounds per game.
Tyler Hansbrough, meanwhile, is having a tough time getting minutes on a rejuvenated Toronto Raptors squad. One of the more popular Heels in recent years, Hansbrough tries to make the most of his opportunities but is averaging just 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per tilt.
Danny Green is a key cog in keeping the San Antonio Spurs among the top teams in the West, averaging nearly nine points and over three rebounds. He’s capable of going off, like he did in scoring 24 points in a win over the Cavs, and Green connected on 10 of his first 21 three pointers in March.
The Nuggets’ Ty Lawson may be famous for a “sick crossover” (as TMZ puts it), but he also has some “ill” numbers (in a good way) to back it up. Lawson is netting 18.5 points with nine assists for struggling Denver.
At the other end of the spectrum, Ed Davis is having trouble cracking the lineup for the Grizzlies behind the talented Zach Randolph. Davis has played just 22 minutes and scored six points in five March contests.
Tyler Zeller is in a similar position with the Cavs, as the former Mavs first-round pick played just four minutes vs. the Knicks Saturday when teammate Anderson Varejao returned from a back injury. Zeller was productive in the previous four games, nearly posting a double-double in a win over the Jazz.
The pipeline from Chapel Hill doesn’t figure to dry up anytime soon, with the likes of John Henson (Bucks), Harrison Barnes (Warriors), Kendall Marshall (Lakers) and Reggie Bullock (Clippers) joining the NBA ranks in recent years.