UNC Basketball: Can James Michael McAdoo Help Heels On The Perimeter?


It’s no secret that North Carolina is experiencing some depth issues on the perimeter.  Guard Leslie McDonald has been out all year after suffering a season ending injury playing summer ball.  Then starting shooting guard/backup point guard Dexter Strickland tore his ACL 15 games into the year, ending his season.  UNC was also without the services of freshman G PJ Hairston against Virginia when he sat out due to a sore foot.  Roy Williams had to turn to little used senior Justin Watts for minutes on the wings.

Coming into the season UNC was stacked on the wings and the biggest question mark was how to distribute the minutes.  Now, players like Watts and freshman PG Stillman White are being counted on down the stretch.  While the injury bug has been all over the Carolina back court, the front court has escaped it’s wrath.  The Tar Heels remain just as deep inside as they were to start the year.  Freshman James Michael McAdoo had his best overall game against Virginia on Saturday.   The back court may be going through some issues, but the boys in the paint seem to be getting better as the season goes on.  Even freshman Desmond Hubert has played well in limited time this season.

UNC has maybe the most athletic, versatile team in the country.  Which begs the question, can Roy find help on the perimeter from one of his big men?  I think the answer to that question is yes, and McAdoo is perfect for the job.  The freshman has yet to develop a post game, he isn’t someone you feed down low on the block.  But McAdoo is phenomenal facing the basket, he can handle the ball as good or better than most teams SF.  He’s nasty finishing at the basket and is very fast for his size.  Creating his own shot off the dribble was his bread and butter in high school and in international competition where he dominated.

I’m not suggesting Roy make a permanent switch and play McAdoo on the wings for good.  He’s a good rebounder and considering his athleticism, leaping ability and talent, he’s a PF long term.   A lineup featuring Tyler Zeller, John Henson, and McAdoo would be extremely intimidating.  All three are excellent at running the floor and have decent mid range jump shots which takes away any fear of the half court offense becoming stagnant with this lineup.

Far too often this season UNCs shot selection has been suspect at best.  Going with three big men for a few stretches each game could improve their efficiency in the half court.  The Tar Heels have some work to do on the perimeter, fixing the defense the most urgent.  They also need better shot selection and avoiding forcing the issue and putting up ill advised shots is another.  Hairston’s injury isn’t considered serious and he should be back for the Heels next game.  But even with him, UNC has gotten little production from its bench and perimeter.  It’s time for Roy Williams to pull out all the stops in search of the right formula going into March.  Playing your five star, super recruit who has struggled to figure out his place on this team while he adjusts to a lesser role can only help in my eyes.

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