North Carolina sophomore big man James Michael McAdoo was seen as a lock by many to exit Chapel Hill after his sophomore season for the NBA Draft. After a limited role his freshman year McAdoo flirted with entering the draft after a strong showing in March when John Henson suffered a wrist injury.
McAdoo was named a preseason All-American and was expected to make the leap from being the teams sixth man who played 16 minutes a game as freshman to a star this year. Many including I envisioned him averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds as one of the dominating big men in the country this season and carrying an inexperienced Tar Heel, but that just hasn’t happened yet.
So is McAdoo still a lock to make the jump to the NBA after this season?
I really don’t think we can blame McAdoo for what hasn’t happened yet all on James Michael, a lot has to do with the style of play this team has taken on so far this season. We are used to seeing UNC play inside out in the half court and that’s not what this years team has done. Instead we’re seeing a perimeter group that doesn’t seem to trust their big men enough to feed the bigs the ball, this team hasn’t shown the patience or selflessness needed for McAdoo to shine.
Reggie Bullock has hinted at it lately with his comments after some of Carolinas frustrating performances that the team is too worried about their individual statistics. I translate his comments that the perimeter players are jacking up shots too quickly and aren’t working enough into the offense to play within their strengths. Some blame for this can also be pointed at head coach Roy Williams who has yet to get a grip on the rotation.
Players like PJ Hairston and Leslie McDonald who have proven they can score and do things offensively that this team needs aren’t playing enough minutes in my mind and when they are on the court the natural instinct of talented players playing limited minutes is to try and do too much, so instead of looking into the post and making a concerted effort to get the ball to McAdoo they are look for their own offense, even if that’s not the best shot for the team.
McAdoo has played too fast at times and hasn’t shown the type of control needed from the teams top big man. Perhaps this is McAdoo hearing the criticism that he needs to be the man and at times he’s trying to do too much. Nobody doubts the fact that Carolina has a ton of talent and isn’t playing up to their level so far this season. What we have is a collection of talent that isn’t playing together and the one who is suffering the most is McAdoo.
Roy has talked about his focus in practice as preaching finding the best possible shot and in the teams most recent contest against McNeese State, McAdoo was posting more aggressively and demanding the ball a bit more than we’ve seen from him this season, only he didn’t shoot the ball well and was outplayed by several of his perimeter counterparts.
I still believe McAdoo is the player we all envisioned him being at the start of this season, he just hasn’t got there yet, along with the rest of the team he is struggling to find his game. The answer to the question posed in this column, Is UNCs James Michael McAdoo Still a Lock to Declare for the NBA Draft at Seasons End? Is two pronged, if the draft were today than I think McAdoo would be foolish to leave early, he likely would still be a lottery pick due to his athleticism and overall promise as a player but right now he’s not ready. But I still believe he will get it together along with the rest of the Tar Heels and end up being the player we think he is by seasons end.