Tar Heels in NBA: Jackson reportedly makes Celtics roster; Suns high on Johnson; Sharpe gets double-double

By R.L. Bynum

Justin Jackson was in a battle with Jake Layman for the final Boston roster spot, but a league source tells The Boston Globe that Jackson has won that competition. Jackson helped his cause by hitting a couple of big buckets in the Celtics’ 137–134 overtime loss to Toronto on Friday in Montreal.

Jackson had only five points in eight minutes but hit an 11-foot jumper with 36.8 seconds left in regulation to give Boston a one-point lead after assisting on a Sam Hauser 3-pointer. In overtime, Jackson sank a 26-foot 3-point attempt with three minutes left and assisted on a Noah Vonleh bucket with 8.6 seconds remaining.

Jackson had an up-and-down preseason, averaging 13.0 minutes, 6.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, shooting 33.3% from the floor and 3-point range.

Layman is in his seven NBA season, the last three with Minnesota, but he only played in two exhibition games, averaging 12.8 minutes, 4.0 points and 2.0 rebounds.


The Phoenix Suns are high on Cameron Johnson, who missed most of the preseason with a right thumb injury, but the franchise reportedly showed how much it valued the former UNC star during trade talks.

While the Suns were pursuing a trade with the Brooklyn Nets for Kevin Durant, according to a Yahoo! Report from Jake Fischer, sources said that the Phoenix front office steadfastly said Johnson was off limits. He added that one source said that Phoenix ultimately included Johnson in an offer.

Johnson, the 11th overall pick in the 2019 draft, is eligible for a contract extension, and the Suns hope to re-sign him. Phoenix named him in the preseason as the starter at power forward.


Day’Ron Sharpe had his best preseason game with a double-double in the Brooklyn Nets’ 112–102 Friday win at Minnesota. Sharpe collected 15 points, 13 rebounds and a block in the game. In an average of 18.5 minutes per exhibition, he averaged 9.5 points and 7.3 rebounds.

Sharpe will back up starter Nic Claxton at center.


There was talk of Nassir Little starting at small forward for Portland, but Josh Hart beat him for that job. Little, who had offseason shoulder surgery, will still be a key player off the Trail Blazers bench.

Little came off the bench in four of five exhibition games, averaging 18.5 minutes, 7.0 points and 2.0 rebounds.


Cole Anthony is expected to be Orlando’s backup point guard behind Markelle Fultz. Fultz fractured his big left toe and missed the entire preseason, though, and his status for Wednesday’s opener in Detroit is unclear.

Anthony averaged 12.2 points in five preseason games, finishing with 14 points in Friday’s 114–100 home win over Cleveland. In that game, he made a nice screen (see the tweet below).


Harrison Barnes will start at small forward for the Sacramento Kings but struggled during the preseason. He averaged 7.5 points while shooting 31.4% from the floor, making only 2 of 12 3-point attempts and 60% of his free-throw attempts.

In the Kings’ 133–86 home win Friday over the Los Angeles Lakers, Barnes scored three points on 1 of 10 shooting after scoring 12 in Wednesday’s 105–104 win at Phoenix and 11 in Sunday’s 126–94 win at Portland.


Reggie Bullock, who will start at small forward for Dallas, didn’t put up big preseason numbers, averaging 7.0 points and 2.0 rebounds while shooting 53.3% from the floor.

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Theo Pinson, who enters the season as the Mavericks’ third-string shooting guard behind starter Tim Hardaway Jr. and Spence Dinwiddie, averaged 10.4 minutes and 2.0 points in the preseason.


Coby White averaged 20 minutes per exhibition game, but it’s not clear how much time he’ll get once the regular season starts since he’s expected to be the third-string shooting guard and the fourth-string point guard.

White finished the preseason with 15 points, four 3-pointers, three rebounds and two assists in Tuesday’s 127–104 home win over Milwaukee. In four exhibitions, with only one start, he averaged 9.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists, shooting 41.9% from the floor and 38.9 from 3-point range.

Tony Bradley, the Bulls’ third-string center, played sparingly in the preseason, and that’s likely to continue in the regular season. He only played in half of Chicago’s exhibitions, averaging 6.1 minutes, two points and two rebounds.

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard

Age 22, 6–3, 185, third NBA season

Roster situation He will back up Markelle Fultz at point guard but Fultz missed the entire preseason with a fracture in his big left toe and his early-season status is unclear
Preseason statistics
— 5 games, 4 starts; 12.2 points, 37.5 FG%, 27.3 3PFG%, 95.0 FT%, 2.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 2.4 turnovers, 0.8 of a steal, -2.8
109–105 win vs. Memphis — Started; 31 minutes, 12 points, 4–12 FG, 2–6 3FG, 2–2 FT, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, +10
114–100 win vs. Cleveland — Started; 22 minutes, 14 points, 4–7 FG, 6–6 FT, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, -8
Season opener — 7 p.m. Wednesday at Detroit
———————————————

Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward

Age 30, 6–8, 225, 11th NBA season

Roster situation Will start at small forward ahead of Terence Davis, who missed the second half of last season with a right wrist injury
Preseason statistics — 4 games, 4 starts, 7.5 points, 31.4 FG%, 12.5 3FG%, 60.0 FT%, 4.5 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.3 turnover, +12.5
126–94 Sunday win at Portland Started; 24 minutes, 11 points, 5–11 FG, 1–5 3FG, 0–1 FT, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, +17
105–104 Wednesday win at Phoenix Started; 25 minutes, 12 points, 4–9 FG, 1–3 3FG, 3–5 FT, 5 rebounds, 1 turnover, +7
133–86 Friday win vs. L.A. Lakers Started; 28 minutes, 3 points, 1–10 FG, 0–4 3FG, 1–1 FT, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, +25
Season opener — 10 p.m. Wednesday vs. Portland
———————————————

Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center

Age 24, 6–10, 248, sixth NBA season

Roster situation Third-string center behind Nikola Vucevic and Andre Drummond.
Exhibition statistics —
2 games, 2.0 points, 25.0 FG%, 2–2 FT, 2.0 rebounds, 0.5 of an assist, 2.5 blocks, +2.0
115–98 Sunday win at Toronto Did not play; coach’s decision
127–104 Tuesday win vs. Milwaukee — 5 minutes, 0 points, 0–3 FG, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, +1
Season opener — 7:30 Wednesday at Miami
———————————————

Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks small forward

Age 31, 6–6, 205, 10th NBA season

Roster situation Will start at small forward ahead of Josh Green and Tim Hardaway Jr.
Preseason statistics — 3 games, 3 starts; 7.0 points, 53.3 FG%, 40.0 3PFG%, 1 of 1 FTs, 2.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.0 steal, +1.7
115–101 Friday win at Utah —
26 minutes, 9 points, 4–6 FG, 1–3 3PFG, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, +7
Season opener — 10 p.m. Wednesday at Phoenix, ESPN
———————————————

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 missed all exhibition games and will miss a significant portion of the season.
———————————————

Justin Jackson, Boston Celtics forward

Age 27, 6–8, 220, sixth NBA season

Roster situation Reportedly has beaten out Jake Layman for the final Celtics roster spot
Preseason statistics — 4 games; 13.0 minutes, 6.5 points, 33.3 FG%, 33.3 3PFG%, 2.3 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 0.3 of a steal, 0.3 of a block, +2.5
137–134 Friday OT loss vs. Toronto in Montreal — 8 minutes, 5 points, 2–3 FG, 1–2 3PFG, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, +/- of 0
Season opener — 7:30 Tuesday vs. Philadelphia, TNT
———————————————

Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns power forward

Age 26, 6–8, 210, fourth NBA season

Roster situation Will start at power forward after only playing two exhibition games because of a right thumb injury.
Preseason statistics
2 games, 2 starts; 2.0 points, 25.0 FG%, 0 of 5 3P FG, 0 FTAs, 1.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.5 of a steal
107–105 Monday loss at Denver and 105–104 Wednesday loss vs. Sacramento— Didn’t play
Season opener — 10 p.m. Wednesday vs. Dallas, ESPN
———————————————

Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers small forward

Age 22, 6–5, 220, fourth NBA season

Roster situation Will back up starter Josh Hart at small forward
Preseason statistics — 5 games, 1 start; 18.5 minutes, 7.0 points, 44.8 FG%, 18.2 3PG%, 87.5 FT%, 2.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.4 of a steal, 0.6 of a block
126–94 Sunday loss at Sacramento Didn’t start; 18 minutes, 7 points, 3–4 FG, 0–1 3FG, 1–2 FT, 3 rebounds, 1 block, 1 turnover, -31
131–98 Tuesday loss at Golden State (final exhibition) Didn’t start; 25 minutes, 9 points, 3–8 FG, 1–3 3FG, 2–2 FT, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, -20
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 Third-string shooting guard behind starter Tim Hardaway Jr. and Spencer Dinwiddie
Preseason statistics
— 3 games; 10.4 minutes, 2.0 points, 20.0 FG%, 20.0 3PFG%, 1 of 1 FTs, 1.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.7 of a block, -1.7
115–101 Friday win at Utah — 5 minutes, 0 points, 0–3 FG, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, +1
Season opener — 10 p.m. Wednesday at Phoenix, ESPN
———————————————

Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center

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

Roster situation Back up to starter Nic Claxton
Preseason statistics — 4 games; 18.5 minutes, 9.5 points, 56.0 FG%, 0 of 2 3PFG, 66.7 FT%, 7.3 rebounds, 0.8 of an assist, 1.8 steals, 0.8 of a block, -5.0
107–97 Wednesday win at Milwaukee Didn’t start; 18 minutes, 11 points, 5–6 FG, 0–1 3FG, 1–1 FT, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 5 steals, 1 block, 3 turnovers, +4
112–102 Friday win at Minnesota Didn’t start; 25 minutes, 15 points, 5–9 FG, 5–5 FT, 13 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal, 1 turnover, -10
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 Third-string shooting guard behind Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso; fourth-string point guard behind Ayo Dosunmu, Caruso and Goran Dragic
Preseason statistics —
4 games, 1 start, 20.0 minutes, 9.3 points, 41.9 FG%, 38.9 3P%, 80.0 FT%, 2.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.5 of a steal
115–98 Sunday win at Toronto 30 minutes, 7 points, 3–10 FG, 1–4 3FG, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 turnovers, +19
127–104 Tuesday win vs. Milwaukee Started; 29 minutes, 15 points, 5–12 FG, 4–8 3FG, 1–2 FT, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, +12
Season opener — 7:30 Wednesday at Miami
———————————————

Photo via @celtics

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