If you're looking for efficiency and intensity, look no further than P.J. Hairston.
Hairston missed out on Indiana due to a sprained knee, but he should be starting at the 2 when he is ready to come back. Strickland is a quality player; it's nothing against him.
However, one can't overlook what Hairston has done on the court this season. He has been masterful in every facet of his game.
Hairston has nailed 35.3 percent of his threes after starting out just 1-of-7 this season. He has also been very effective driving to the basket, which is something Carolina desperately needs without a true threat in the post.
What has really stood out to me is his defense and rebounding. He's averaging 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals in just 15.7 minutes per game. He always seems to make big plays when he is in the game.
Starting or not, 15.7 minutes just isn't enough for this guy. Roy needs to find a way to get the sophomore some playing time.
The other player I would like to see more of is Brice Johnson. He has proven to be an excellent mid-range shooter and very efficient in the post.
Aside from Desmond Hubert, he is also the best shot-blocker on the team at 0.9 blocks over just 14 minutes per game. Despite his minutes, he is also the fourth-leading rebounder for the Tar Heels.
While Coach Williams is toying with the lineup, why not try Paige, Hairston, McAdoo, Johnson and James as the starting five?
I know it may not be conventional, but Roy threw conventional out the window when he played Hairston and Tokoto at the 4 and Johnson at the 5.
I applauded the move too. It shows his willingness to adapt to the strengths and weakness of the squad. Hopefully, that adaptation will continue throughout the season.
If he considers the pick and roll option, McAdoo would fit just fine as the four. It would keep him on the move and use his athleticism more than just relegating him to the post.
For this offense, I would use Paige, Hairston, Bullock, McAdoo and Johnson. But if James can step up his game, he could be lethal too. And nobody wants to get blind-sided by a 260-pound wall on the high screen.
The idea is to put the most efficient players on the floor and see if they can mesh. Roy Williams is certainly trying—he just needs to continue expanding on that effort.
To get a better idea of player efficiency, I adjust Carolina's key players' averages to 40 minutes. Though this isn't an accurate depiction of what they would do over 40 minutes, it does allow us to compare averages on a time-adjusted scale.
Player PTS REB AST STL BLK
Hairston 27.5 10.7 3.8 3.1 1.8
Johnson 25.4 13.1 0.9 1.7 2.6
McAdoo 22.4 12.5 1.4 2.0 0.4
McDonald 19.4 4.9 3.2 1.5 0.2
Bullock 17.6 7.4 5.0 2.9 0.4
Strickland 14.1 3.8 5.6 3.4 0.2
Tokoto 13.8 10.0 2.7 1.2 0.4
Paige 12.8 3.7 5.3 2.1 0.0
James 10.3 12.7 1.0 1.4 1.7