UNC Basketball: 4 Reasons James Michael McAdoo Will Not Live Up to Expectations
If you listened to ESPN's Doris Burke during "Late Night with Roy," you would assume that James Michael McAdoo dominated the scrimmage and would be the uncontested "go-to" guy for the North Carolina Tar Heels.
That was simply not the case.
This is just a small example of what the media has done to hype McAdoo beyond what we have seen on the court thus far. ESPN's NBA draft guru Chad Ford slated him to go seventh in the draft, had he decided to forgo his sophomore year at UNC.
Though it's hard for me to claim to have a better grip on basketball talent than those under contract with ESPN, I have no idea what they are thinking.
Anyone that follows my articles on a regular basis knows that I'm very positive about this Carolina squad in 2012-13—even at the risk of being labeled a "homer." My evaluations have been completely honest and forthright, however.
That doesn't change when it comes to speaking on negative aspects of anyone's game.
There are areas of James Michael McAdoo's game that keep me from being sold on his potential. He is a steal machine—which is why I have dubbed him "The Angler"—and a superb athlete with an endless motor.
But where is the offensive prowess in the half court that would place him in the elite class? I just haven't seen it.
Sure, as Burke mentioned, he looked like he was ready to be the go-to guy by the amount of shots he took in the scrimmage. At some point, McAdoo has to start making the shots he takes.
The expectations of James Michael McAdoo are simply too high for him to live up to.
Before I break down the reasons I feel this way, let me be clear about one thing: As much as I love being right, there is nobody on the face of this earth that wants me to be wrong about McAdoo more than myself. But I call it as I see it, and what my audience deserves is honesty in my analysis.
I can only hope this gets to James Michael McAdoo and motivates him to prove me wrong this season.
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At some point, James Michael McAdoo must learn to use his 230-pound frame to manhandle his opponents in the post—whether on defense or offense. As much as he has tried to work on that facet of his game over the summer, some people just aren't born with that physical mentality.
That's not an easy thing to just teach yourself. It requires having a "mean streak" that I'm not sure he is capable of.
The ACC is a physically tough conference, and that is especially true in the post. It gets even harder with the bigger bodies at the next level, which also makes me question his hyped-up draft status.
At 6'9", he isn't above-average height for the position. He can't just shoot it over folks with a finesse game. He can't properly defend that way either; he will just get backed down.
McAdoo's athleticism can help make up for a lack of physicality, but it isn't the complete solution. The only way he can truly dominate the way members of the media predict is to get physical and own his real estate on the hardwood.
No Post Game
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Without being physical, it's hard to have a great post game.
James Michael McAdoo will be fed in the post, just like John Henson or Tyler Zeller. I have a hard time believing he will be anywhere near as effective. Zeller and Henson could make up with their lack of physicality with height and post moves.
What are McAdoo's post moves?
I see him getting to the basket with a quick step, long strides and ups to put him above the rim. But that won't work every time, and he just doesn't have any moves to put defenders on their heels.
McAdoo needs counter-moves. He needs a hook. He needs to be able to back down opponents in the paint. He did display a nice turnaround fade on Friday night, but it didn't drop.
If McAdoo can get the fade to drop with consistency, that could be a pretty lethal weapon. But that brings me to my next point.
No Shooter's Touch
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Some people have it, and some people don't.
I have yet to see any indication of a "shooter's touch" from McAdoo. While his stroke is pretty fluid, shots just don't seem to fall for him.
I put a lot of blame for this on his balance.
He tends to contort his body on just about every shot he takes, whether he is leaning in, falling away or kicking his legs out. His body is rarely at a 90-degree angle with the floor.
That begs for misses—and miss he has.
In the latest issue of Inside Carolina Magazine, Adrian Atkinson points out that McAdoo shot 31.4 percent on his non-close post attempts. Those attempts include hooks, turnaround jumpers, face-up jumpers and leaners.
Isolating turnaround jumpers, Atkinson also points out that he was 8-of-32 on turnaround jumpers—that's 25 percent. Though, that stat is slightly skewed in terms of his touch. He was blocked more on turnaround jumpers than any other shot.
He has also yet to attempt a three, which is a good sign he doesn't have that kind of range. The best power forwards can bury you behind the arc.
To go with that, he shot 63.8 percent from the free-throw line last season. As much as he draws fouls going to the basket, those free throws become very crucial.
Shooters get it done at the charity strips. Even here, there is no indication of that shooter's touch.
Give Me Proof
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While the energy James Michael McAdoo displayed in the tourney was admirable and promising, it simply wasn't enough to warrant so much hype.
There's no question he will play a huge part in Carolina's success, but to what degree? There is no proof out there that leads me to believe he will be "the guy."
If that were the case, don't you think we would have heard a little more about McAdoo's NC Pro-Am performances?
Reggie Bullock, P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald were the headliners of the summer, with scoring performances ranging from 30 to 50 points. Bullock and Hairston also took home MVP hardware.
I don't put a lot on big NC Pro-Am performances, but I do have to wonder when someone this hyped can't score against non-existent defense.
Just the same, I don't put much at all on the blue and white scrimmage at "Late Night with Roy"—especially when these guys spent half the night dancing. Though, others like Hairston, Bullock and Marcus Paige were dropping most of their shots Friday night. Even Joel James showed a nicer touch than McAdoo.
For whatever reason, McAdoo couldn't knock anything down. That is no different from what we saw last season.
Can James Michael McAdoo be a star? Absolutely.
The potential is there, but it's going to take longer than a year to fully develop. Perhaps if he stays for his junior season, he could dominate the ACC the way some hope and others expect. But I just don't see him living up to these lofty expectations in 2012-13.
James Michael McAdoo will get better, and he will excel at the next level. It's just a matter of time and dedication—and possibly a change of position—for this young star. He just doesn't seem like power forward material.