What an all-North Carolina NBA starting five would look like

Though North Carolina produced the greatest NBA player of all-time in Michael Jordan, there aren’t many recent NBA success stories for former Tar Heels.

An all-UNC NBA starting five would still be an impressive unit, but the team doesn’t have the professional star power of colleges like Kentucky, UCLA or even arch-rival Duke.

However, the below team has a savvy mix of veterans and young stars, so the ex-Tar Heels would be a tough matchup for any current NBA team.

Still, the school has won 2,200 games and five NCAA Tournament titles in its storied history and has been to the Final Four a whopping 19 times, so the collegiate talent can’t be questioned. As coach Roy Williams’ squad tries to take advantage of a No. 1 seed this year to try to win a sixth title, there will be plenty of future NBA talent on display.

Only five players can crack the starting lineup of our team, though, so let’s take a look at who would take the court for this hypothetical all-North Carolina NBA squad.

Point Guard: Ty Lawson, Sacramento Kings

Lawson has played for four teams since he was drafted in 2009 and has never quite lived up to expectations, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a talented point guard.

This year, playing for the Sacramento Kings, Lawson is averaging 9.2 points, 4.7 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game while serving primarily as a backup.

He’s not much of a three-point shooter (as his 27.9 percent success rate from beyond the arc will show), but with the other lethal long ballers on the all-UNC squad, Lawson can play the role of facilitator, which is where he’s at his best.

Shooting Guard: Danny Green, San Antonio Spurs

Green was a part of the 2009 North Carolina title-winning squad and also has an NBA championship  ring as a member of the 2014 San Antonio Spurs.

That winning pedigree, as well as his career 40.2 percent three-point success rate, make his a valuable piece of this all-Tar Heel team.

Green is currently averaging 7.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game as a starter for the powerhouse Spurs.

Small Forward: Harrison Barnes, Dallas Mavericks

Harrison Barnes may have been the forgotten man on the Golden State Warriors teams of the past two years, but he’s the centerpiece of our North Carolina alumni squad.

As a member of the Dallas Mavericks this year, Barnes (who won an Olympic gold medal as the 14th man on the Team USA roster last summer in Rio) is averaging 19.8 points and 5.2 rebounds.

Barnes may not have had the storied Tar Heel career that some of the other players on this list had, but his NBA career has the chance to put the others’ careers to shame.

Power Forward: Marvin Williams, Charlotte Hornets

Williams was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft despite only being the sixth man on North Carolina’s 2005 NCAA title-winning squad.

He failed to live up to expectations early in his career, but has now found a nice niche as a contributor for a decent Hornets’ team.

With averages of 11.5 points and 6.3 rebounds this year, the 12-year NBA veteran definitely has a place in our starting five.

Center: John Henson, Milwaukee Bucks

There aren’t too many former Tar Heels who are true centers, so Henson, who normally plays power forward for the Bucks, will have to play up a spot.

That shouldn’t be too tough for the 6’11” Henson, who was a member of UNC’s 2009 title-winning team.

For the Bucks this season, Henson is averaging 6.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and an impressive 1.3 blocks in just under 20 minutes per game.


The all-Tar Heel NBA team wouldn’t be complete without Vince Carter coming off the bench to throw down some highlight-reel dunks.

Other North Carolina alumni who would serve as rotation players for the team include guards Raymond Felton and Wayne Ellington and front-court players Tyler Zeller and Ed Davis.

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