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Last season, Roy Williams routinely tortured James Michael McAdoo by playing him at the five. He is not a center. This is certain. But that move was mostly out of necessity. The head coach did not trust many of his bigs, who were young and inexperienced.
Now, a year later, suddenly Williams may be flushed with big men he can count on. Against Oakland, this reared its head when UNC went with a fearsome big lineup with McAdoo at the small forward. Kennedy Meeks and Brice Johnson were both in the game as well. Suddenly, the versatile and talented McAdoo was playing on the edge, taking big men off the dribble and wreaking havoc with a few powerful dunks.
This lineup did force JMM to guard a wing player on defense but he held his own in this regard. And let's be honest, he was never a superior inside defender to begin with. Last season, McAdoo accumulated a total of 14 blocks, the same amount as shooting guard PJ Hairston.
So is this situation viable moving forward? With McAdoo at the three, two fellow big men on the floor with him and JP Tokoto playing the two-guard, UNC suddenly trots out a destructively long quartet. Realizing that Roy Williams likes to run on offense and always push tempo, it may not be realistic for a big lineup to play anything but sparingly. But the threat of it is enough to force opponents to game-plan for just such an occasion, lest they be ill-prepared when the big men come.