James Michael McAdoo was a preseason All-American expected to fill the large shoes left by John Henson and Tyler Zeller as the leader in the post for the North Carolina Tar Heels this season. McAdoo has had his moments this season and at times looked like a player who could fulfill his potential in Carolina this season, but as of late he’s been anything but an All-American. Has he played himself right out of the Draft lottery?
After playing sparingly behind Henson and Zeller for most of his freshman season McAdoo was thrust into the spotlight in March when Henson suffered a wrist injury that paved the way for more playing time and opportunities for the then freshman. After showcasing his talents and putting his athleticism on display McAdoo was a projected lottery pick that might have been picked before any of his Tar Heel teammates (just like Marvin Williams in the 05 draft) but ultimately decided to come back to Chapel Hill for his sophomore season.
For now McAdoo is the teams leading scorer averaging 14.5 points per game and their leading rebounder at 8.2 per contest but he isn’t nearly the force he was projected to be. The problem is McAdoo’s lack of toughness in the paint and his face up style that lacks a back to the basket threat.
In short McAdoo’s game hasn’t evolved from his freshman to his sophomore season much at all. He often takes ill advised shots, rushes things when he receives the ball and hasn’t found a way to truly utilize his athletic talents. When UNC slides and the opposition is on a run, especially on the road they need someone to step up, demand the basketball and go to work in the paint and that guy is supposed to be James Michael McAdoo, only it’s not.
The sad thing about the NBA Draft is that it’s largely based on potential not a players production and McAdoo will likely still be a first round pick if he indeed decides to go pro after this season. He has the talent, he has the athleticism, he just hasn’t put it together and he hasn’t shown that he can be a true power forward at the college level, let alone the NBA.
His play throughout the rest of the season will determine where his draft stock ultimately ends up and likely will make his decision on whether he returns to Chapel Hill for his junior year or heads to the league. If the draft were today, I’d say that he would be a mid to late first round pick at best meaning he cost himself a ton of money by electing to comeback this season.
In conclusion I have to state that I love McAdoo, I have since he was in high school watching him dominate for Team USA and I believe he will become a big time player at some point but it’s going to take work and development in the low post, something he’s running out of time to accomplish this season.