James Michael McAdoo: From Undrafted to NBA Champion


Many people within Tar Heel Nation questioned James Michael McAdoo’s decision to skip his senior year to go pro. When he went undrafted, more people criticized him. Some did this for his style of play because he lacked a particular skill set that would equate to a certain position in the NBA. Others believed that he should have stayed at UNC one more year to hone his skills and help Carolina win a championship.

After digesting this, let’s look at what has happened in the past year for McAdoo. First off, he earned a spot on the roster for the Golden State Warriors. Many people underestimate this task — many players tryout want to play for NBA teams, but few earn a roster spot and even fewer stick on the roster after that. Although McAdoo had a great deal of competition, he played his way onto the Warriors’ team.

McAdoo’s road to a championship in the Bay Area was not easy. On September 2, 2014, McAdoo signed a 1-year $507, 000 contract with Golden State. On October 25, 2014, he was waived by the Warriors. On January 19, 2015, McAdoo signed a 10-day contract with Golden State. On February 2, 2015, he signed another 10-day contract with Golden State. Then, on February 19, 2015, McAdoo signed a 2-year $1.01 million contract with the Warriors. This road to a championship was more like a roller coaster.

Haters are going to point out that McAdoo did not play a great deal during the 2015 NBA Playoffs and in particular, the championship series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. In fact, McAdoo played a total of 10 minutes (11 minutes according to mathematicians), netting 4 points and 4 rebounds the entire playoffs.

Throw the statistics out the window because Golden State has a very deep team. When Andrew Bogut (the starting center) was benched for the last three games of the finals, this should have been a sign that there was more talent on the roster. McAdoo will have a difficult time getting playing time while with the Warriors. He plays the same position as Harrison Barnes (another Tar Heel), Draymond Green, Andre’ Igoudala and David Lee. All of these players had big roles in the championship series.

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There is a small chance that Golden State may keep McAdoo for next season. There is another year remaining on his contract; however,  McAdoo will have more competition with the recent acquisition of Kevon Looney. Looney fits the same mold as McAdoo – a hybrid forward.

The kicker is this: McAdoo won a championship ring with Golden State. This is the irony about his situation. He was a part of a championship, but it was not in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. One more thing, do not criticize McAdoo too much. The young man signed a 2-year contract worth $1,012,181. This deal includes $267,122 guaranteed and an annual average salary of $506,091. In 2015-2016, McAdoo will earn a base salary of $845,059. McAdoo has a cap hit of $845,059 (what he earns next season). while his dead money value is $100,000.

Hate him or love him, McAdoo is a champion. Although he was not “the man,” he was a part of the team and earned his ring. With hard work and the right situation, McAdoo has the opportunity to be an integral part of a team whether it is Golden State or another team. Not too bad for a young man who defied the odds and stepped out on faith…