Tar Heels in NBA: White makes case for more minutes, Jackson for roster spot with good games; Anthony plays well

By R.L. Bynum

After Coby White already faced an uncertain situation with the Chicago Bulls heading into the season, he played only three minutes in Tuesday’s first exhibition game before taking a knee in his left thigh and suffering a bone bruise.

However, he rallied back on Friday night with an impressive 15 points in 18 minutes off the bench during the Bulls’ 131–113 home win over the Denver Nuggets, with two 3-pointers, two rebounds and three assists. Elsewhere in the league, Justin Jackson and Cole Anthony both played well Friday, while Cameron Johnson is recovering from a hand injury (read about that here).

White wanted to return to Chicago’s 129–125 loss to New Orleans, but the cautious Bulls medical staff wouldn’t let him, knowing he had shoulder surgery a year ago and that they already have a significant injury to another guard.

Without point guard Lonzo Ball for at least another month as he recovers from knee surgery, the opportunity is there for White to assert himself.

“He’s got to be aggressive,” Chicago coach Billy Donovan told the Chicago Tribune. “That’s the biggest thing for him. Sometimes it’s hard when he’s off the ball, and all of a sudden, maybe he’s not in position to get the catch and shoot, but he has to just put it down. It’s really more or less about — not just for Coby but the rest of the guys — how can we help them play to their strengths?”

White hopes that his ability to play point guard and shooting guard and be one of Chicago’s best spot-up shooters will earn him a regular spot in the rotation.

“I take pride in being able to play multiple positions, so that’s nothing new to me,” White said. “I’ve been doing that since I’ve been here. I take pride in playing wherever they want me. I always say: As long as I’m getting minutes on the floor, I don’t really care.”

As for fellow UNC alum Tony Bradley, he had only four points in seven minutes against the Pelicans and didn’t play (coach’s decision) against the Nuggets.


Jackson will need an outstanding exhibition season to earn a roster spot with the Boston Celtics and avoid another G League assignment. He took a positive step in Friday night’s 112–103 win over Charlotte in Greensboro.

In 23 minutes, he scored 16 points, going 4 of 14 from the floor, and 4 of 8 from 3-point range, in addition to pulling down four rebounds and notching an assist, a block and a steal.

He needed that outing after missing all eight shots, including five from 3-point range, and playing 12 scoreless minutes in Wednesday’s 125–119 overtime home loss to Toronto. After those struggles continued Friday in the first half, Jackson made three consecutive 3-point attempts in the second half.

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Jake Layman, in his seventh NBA season out of Maryland, and Brodric Thomas, in his third NBA season out of Truman State, are the main competition that Jackson faces for a roster spot.


Anthony has sandwiched two solid preseason efforts around a tough shooting night. He was 1 of 11 and missed all seven 3-point attempts in Thursday’s 102–99 Orlando win at San Antonio. But he scored 17 points in 21 minutes with four 3-pointers in Monday’s 109–97 loss at Memphis and had 12 points, four rebounds and five assists Friday night in a 110–105 victory at Dallas.

He’ll probably have to play more minutes early in the season after Magic guard Jalen Suggs suffered a left knee sprain and bone bruise in Friday’s game and had to be helped off the court.

Reggie Bullock has started both Dallas exhibition games, including Friday’s loss. He scored five points in 15 minutes against Orlando after netting seven points in 16 minutes in Wednesday’s 98–96 win against Oklahoma City.

Theo Pinson had five points, two rebounds and a steal against the Thunder in 15 minutes and a point, three assists, a steal and a block in 12 minutes against the Magic.


After scoring only two points in Portland’s first exhibition game, a 118–101 loss against Utah, Nassir Little netted 11 points in 18 minutes in Thursday’s 138–85 win against Maccabi Ra’anana, a team from Israel. He was 5 of 7 from the floor with two rebounds and two blocks in that second game.

Day’Ron Sharpe scored six points off the bench in both games as the Brooklyn Nets lost their first two home exhibition games. In Monday’s 127–108 loss to Philadelphia, he had four rebounds, a steal and a block in 19 minutes. In Thursday’s 109–90 loss to Miami, he had seven rebounds and two assists in 12 minutes.


In the Sacramento Kings’ only exhibition game, Harrison Barnes had four points and two rebounds in 16 minutes of Monday’s 105–75 road victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard

Age 22, 6–3, 185, third NBA season

Roster situation He will likely back up Markelle Fultz at point guard but Fultz suffered a fracture in his big left toe. No surgery is required, and his return timetable will depend on how he responds.
2021–22 season statistics
— 64 games, 16.6 points, 39.3 FG%, 33.9 3FG%, 85.4 FT%, 5.4 rebounds, 5.8 assists
109–97 Monday loss at Memphis — Started; 21 minutes, 17 points, 6–10 FG, 4–8 3FG, 1–1 FT, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, -18
102–99 Thursday win at San Antonio — Didn’t start; 24 minutes, 6 points, 1–11 FG, 0–7 3FG, 4–5 FT, 1 assist, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 2 fouls, -7
110–105 Friday win at Dallas — Started; 25 minutes, 12 points, 3–8 FG, 0–1 3FG, 6–6 FT, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, +9
Next exhibition — 7 p.m. Tuesday vs. Memphis, NBATV
Season opener — 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19 at Detroit
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Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward

Age 30, 6–8, 225, 11th NBA season

Roster situation Expected to start at small forward ahead of Terence Davis, who missed the second half of last season with a right wrist injury.
2021–22 season statistics — 77 games, 16.4 points, 46.9 FG%, 39.4 3FG%, 82.6 FT%, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists
105–75 Monday win at Los Angeles Lakers — Started; 16 minutes, 4 points, 1–5 FG, 0–4 3FG, 2–3 FT, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, +1
Next exhibition — 9 p.m. Sunday vs. Portland
Season opener — 10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19 vs. Portland
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Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center

Age 24, 6–10, 248, sixth NBA season

Roster situation Likely the third-string center behind Nikola Vucevic and Andre Drummond.
2021–22 season statistics —
55 games, 3.0 points, 58.5 FG%, 65.5 FT%, 3.4 rebounds, 0.5 of an assist
129–125 Tuesday loss vs. New Orleans — 7 minutes, 4 points, 1–1 FG, 2–2 FT, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 block, +3
131–113 Friday win vs. Denver — Did not play; coach’s decision
Next exhibition — 6 p.m. Sunday at Toronto, NBATV
Season opener — 7:30 Wednesday, Oct. 19 at Miami
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Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks small forward

Age 31, 6–6, 205, 10th NBA season

Roster situation Expected to start at small forward ahead of Josh Green and Tim Hardaway Jr.
2021–22 season statistics — 68 games, 8.6 points, 40.1 FG%, 36.0 3P%, 83.3 FT%, 3.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists
98–96 Wednesday win vs. Oklahoma City in Tulsa —
Started; 16 minutes, 7 points, 2–5 FG, 2–4 3FG, 1–1 FT, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, +2
110–105 Friday loss vs. Orlando — Started; 15 minutes, 5 points, 2–4 FG, 1–3 3FG, 1 rebound, 1 assist, -4
Next exhibition — 9 p.m. Friday at Utah
Season opener — 10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19 at Phoenix, ESPN
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Danny Green, Memphis Grizzlies forward

Age 35, 6–6, 215, 14th NBA season

Roster situation He’ll spend most of the season rehabbing after tearing his ACL and LCL in his left knee in a May 12 playoff game. When he plays, he’ll compete for playing time at shooting guard (where Desmond Bane is the likely starter) and small forward (where Dillon Brooks likely starts) with several players, including reserves John Konchar and Zaire Williams.
2021–22 season statistics (76ers) — 62 games, 5.9 points, 39.4 FG%, 38.0 3FG%, 20–24 FT, 2.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists
He will miss all exhibition games and a significant portion of the season.
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Justin Jackson, Boston Celtics forward

Age 27, 6–8, 220, sixth NBA season

Roster situation He will battle for a roster spot at small forward behind starter Jayson Tatum and reserves Grant Williams, Jalen Brown, Marcus Smart, Sam Houser, Jake Layman and Bruno Caboclo. Another G League assignment is likely without an outstanding performance in training camp.
2021–22 NBA season statistics — 7 games, 2.1 points, 33.3% FG, 33.3% 3FG, 1.0 rebounds, 0.3 of an assist
G League statistics (2022 part of season) — 28 games, 22.1 points, 41.5% FG, 36.3% 3FG, 88.2 FT%, 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists
G League statistics (2021 part of season) — 10 games, 22.7 points, 47.3% FG, 41.4% 3FG, 79.2 FT%, 7.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.0 steals
134–93 Sunday win vs. Charlotte — 9 minutes, 5 points, 2–5 FG, 1–3 3FG, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, +9
125–119 Wednesday OT loss vs. Toronto 12 minutes, 0 points, 0–8 FG, 0–5 3FG, 1 rebound, -15
112–103 Friday win vs. Charlotte in Greensboro — 23 minutes, 16 points, 6–14 FG, 4–8 3FG, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, +16
Next exhibition — 7 p.m. Friday vs. Toronto in Montreal
Season opener — 7:30 Tuesday, Oct. 18 vs. Philadelphia, TNT
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Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns power forward

Age 26, 6–8, 210, fourth NBA season

Roster situation Will start at power forward but will likely not play again during the preseason with a right hand injury. The incumbent starter Jae Crowder isn’t reporting to training camp and the Suns have agreed to find a trade destination for him.
2021–22 season statistics —
66 games, 12.5 points, 46.0 FG%, 42.5 3FG%, 86.0 FT%, 4.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists
Exhibition opener — 134–124 loss vs. Adelaide 36ers — Started; 22 minutes, 4 points, 2–7 FG, 0–4 3FG, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover, +11
119–115 Wednesday win vs. Los Angeles Lakers in Las Vegas Started; 4 minutes, 0 points, 0–1 FG, 0–1 3FG, 1 rebound, 1 foul, -5
Next exhibition — 9 p.m. Monday at Denver
Season opener — 10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19 vs. Dallas, ESPN
———————————————

Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers small forward

Age 22, 6–5, 220, fourth NBA season

Roster situation He’s expected to compete for the starting small forward spot with Josh Hart after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in February and fully recovering.
2021–22 season statistics — 42 games, 9.8 points, 46.0 FG%, 33.1 3P%, 73.4 FT%, 5.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Exhibition opener — 102–97 loss at Los Angeles Clippers — Didn’t start; 15 minutes, 6 points, 1–4 FG, 0–2 3FG, 4–4 FT, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, -3
118–101 Tuesday loss vs. Utah Didn’t start; 13 minutes, 2 points, 1–6 FG, 0–3 3FG, 1 assist, -8
138–85 win Thursday vs. Maccabi Ra’anana Started; 18 minutes, 11 points, 57 FG, 12 3FG, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, 3 fouls, +19
Next exhibition — 9 pm. Sunday at Sacramento
Season opener — 10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19 at Sacramento
———————————————

Theo Pinson, Dallas Mavericks guard

Age 26, 6–5, 212, fifth NBA season

Roster situation He’ll likely be a third-string shooting guard behind Spencer Dinwiddie and Tim Hardaway Jr.
NBA 2021–22 season statistics —
19 games, 2.5 points, 35.9 FG%, 33.3 3FG%, 10–10 FT, 1.1 rebounds, 0.9 assists
G League 2021–22 season statistics — 14 games, 15.7 points, 40.4 FG%, 38.6 3FG%, 84.8 FT%, 4.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.2 steals
98–96 Wednesday win vs. Oklahoma City in Tulsa — 15 minutes, 5 points, 2–6 FG, 1–4 3FG, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover, +4
110–105 Friday loss vs. Orlando — 12 minutes, 1 point, 0–1 FG, 0–1 3FG, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, -10
Next exhibition —
9 p.m. Friday at Utah
Season opener — 10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19 at Phoenix, ESPN
———————————————

Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center

Age 20 (turns 21 on Nov. 6), 6–9, 265, second NBA season

Roster situation He’s expected to back up starter Nic Claxton.
NBA 2021–22 season statistics — 32 games, 6.2 points, 57.7 FG%, 28.6 3P%, 58.5% FT, 5.0 rebounds, 0.5 of an assist
G League statistics (2021 part of season) — 4 games, 18.0 points, 47.8 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 85.7 FT%, 9.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 2.6 blocks
G League statistics (2022 part of season) — 10 games, 18.8 points, 51.0 FG%, 33.3 3FG%, 40.0 FT%, 13.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists
127–108 Monday loss vs. Philadelphia Didn’t start; 19 minutes, 6 points, 1–3 FG, 0–1 3FG, 4–9 FT, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, -11
109–90 Thursday loss vs. Miami Didn’t start; 12 minutes, 6 points, 3–7 FG, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, -3
Next exhibition — 7:30 Wednesday at Milwaukee, ESPN
Season opener — 7:30 Wednesday, Oct. 19 vs. New Orleans
———————————————

Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard

Age 22, 6–4, 195, fourth NBA season

Roster situation Enters season battling for point guard time with likely starter Lonzo Ball (who will have left knee surgery Wednesday and be out another four to six weeks), Goran Dragic, Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu and at shooting guard with Zach LaVine, Caruso and Dosunmu.
2021–22 season statistics —
61 games, 12.7 points, 43.3 FG%, 38.5 3P%, 86.7 FT%, 3.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists
129–125 Tuesday loss vs. New Orleans — 3 minutes, 0 points, 0–2 FG, 0–1 3FG, -5
131–113 Friday win vs. Denver — 18 minutes; 15 points, 5–7 FG, 2–4 3FG, 3–3 FT, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 4 turnovers, 2 fouls, +13
Next exhibition — 6 p.m. Sunday at Toronto, NBATV
Season opener — 7:30 Wednesday, Oct. 19 at Miami
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