McAdoo making a mistake by leaving early
Posted April 4, 2014
Chapel Hill, N.C. — If you go by NBA draft projections, James Michael McAdoo is making a mistake by foregoing his senior college season at North Carolina.
Few of the draft gurus see the 6-foot-9, 230-pound junior forward as a first-round selection and there’s even some question regarding his second-round fate. There’s considerable speculation he could be among the final five or so players picked in the two rounds.
Not only do most second-rounders fail to get guaranteed contracts, many quickly wind up in the Developmental League or playing overseas.
But if it’s of any consolation to McAdoo, the experts have a long history of misjudging Tar Heel big men. The three most glaring examples are Ed Davis, Marvin Williams and Brandan Wright.
All three were widely predicted for NBA stardom when drafted -- Davis as the 13th overall pick by Toronto in 2010 after his sophomore season at UNC; Wright as the 8th overall pick by Charlotte (for Golden State) in 2007 after one season in college; and Williams as the 2nd overall pick in 2005 by Atlanta after one season at Carolina.
Nearing the final few games of this regular season, all three are averaging less than 10 points and six rebounds per game and didn’t last terribly long with their original teams.
Davis, 24 years old and now with Memphis, is averaging 5.9 points and 4.2 rebounds. In three seasons with the Raptors, he averaged 7.1 points and 6.2 rebounds.
Williams, 27 and now with Utah, is averaging 9.3 points and 5.2 rebounds. His best season with the Hawks was 2007-08, when he averaged 14.8 points and 5.7 points.
The 26-year-old Wright, with Dallas, is averaging 8.9 points and 4.2 rebounds after having bounced from the Warriors to New Jersey during his first four seasons.
All three still could turn out to be pro stars, but the odds are against it.
On the other hand, John Henson is beating the pro odds. Picked 14th overall by Milwaukee in 2012, many scouts saw the move as a reach, the thinking being that Henson’s lean frame (6-10, 215) and history of injuries in college could be overwhelming obstacles over the course of 82-game, 48-minute regular season grinds.
The Bucks are perfectly awful (14-61) but Henson, averaging 11 points and a team-best 7.2 rebounds, has been a bright spot. With any luck, he’ll get traded to a more competitive team during the off season.
More bigs on the way
A part of McAdoo’s decision to enter this season could be the look of the future.
Although there are several power forwards and/or centers likely to be on the table for the June 26 picks, there could be even more in 2015.
A new wave of incoming college freshmen bigs -- Jahlil Oakfor (6-11, Duke), Cliff Alexander (6-9, Kansas) and Myles Turner (6-10, unsigned) -- are all projected as high ’15 picks.
Plus, at least one or two of the current freshmen big men could play one more season in college and then enter the draft. A possibility on that front is Arizona’s Aaron Gordon, a 6-9, 240-pounder who could wind up being No. 1 overall next season.
But regardless of where McAdoo lands and when he gets selected, his primary asset is raw athleticism. Few bigs in the nation run the floor with as much quickness and grace. His ceiling as a scorer in transition is fairly high and he can be an above-average on-ball defender.
McAdoo’s liabilities, however, are glaring. He’s an awful free-throw and spot shooter and often was a rebounding underachiever at Carolina.
Obviously there was a good case to be made for McAdoo to stay. With better guard and perimeter play, the Heels should be a top-10 team next season and the recruit class has potential in that regard. His stock would have gone up.
But it’s way to early to say he’ll be an NBA bust. If he can catch on the right team early, the potential is there for a long, successful pro career.
After all, or each Marvin Williams in the draft, there’s always a Chandler Parsons example.
Out of Florida, the 6-9, 230-pound Parsons was picked 38th overall by Houston in 2011. Today, he’s averaging 16 points and 5.6 rebounds per game on a team that’s certain to reach the playoffs.