James Michael McAdoo is the #1 option on this team, even after the Maui Invitational Tournament that saw his points per game drop by nearly two full points per contest it’s McAdoo that is the unquestioned #1 option on the offensive end for Carolina. The real question is who is the #2 option? Small forward Reggie Bullock is the one head coach Roy Williams expected to be that guy and the one he named along with McAdoo as the leader of this team going into the season.
But while Bullock has played well this season averaging 12.7 ppg on 57% shooting, he has disappeared in some games this year and hasn’t asserted himself offensively enough on a consistent basis. Bullock has only taken ten or more shots in two of UNCs six games this season, 31 of his 49 field goal attempts on the year have been three point attempts. So far this season Bullock has not shown that he can create his own offensive opportunities and relies on being set up for the jump shot if he’s going to score.
PJ Hairston is playing like it might be him but he hasn’t received enough minutes to establish himself as the true #2 averaging just 15.7 minutes per game off the bench. Despite his limited amount of playing time Hairston has proven to be the Heels most aggressive offensive player outside of McAdoo. Hairston is averaging 9.5 field goal attempts per game 1.4 more than Bullock in 10.6 less minutes. Hairston has expanded his game beyond just a stand still three point shooter while also increasing his efficiency from beyond the arc and reestablishing himself as a reliable three point shooter.
Could it be Brice Johnson? Johnson is an intriguing prospect in the Tar Heels offense and could very well prove to be their most reliable scorer beside McAdoo. The freshman made his first start of the season in the Heels win over Chaminade in the final game of the Maui Invitational. Like Hairston, Johnson is very aggressive offensively and puts himself in position to attack the basket and score frequently. Brice is the teams fourth leading scorer at 8.7 ppg, a figure I expect to see increase along with his minutes in his new role as a starter. Johnson is averaging a shot nearly every two minutes on the floor with 40 field goal attempts in 82 minutes played this season. Johnson has scored in double figures each time he has attempted at least eight shots and he’s the Tar Heels most efficient offensive force shooting 60% from the field.
UNC has several capable scorers on this team but we have yet to find out who will step up and become the main drivers on the offensive end as this team continues to search for it’s identity. Teams play at their best and reach their potential when roles are clearly identified. Roy Williams is still trying to establish the rotation and it will likely take a while before we have a clear picture of where all the pieces fit.