This is not a disappearing act. That would be too harsh. James McAdoo is still the leading scorer for a high-profile program, North Carolina, with a chance to get back into the top 25.
But it is a dramatic hit to his draft stock. That would be reality.
“I just see a role player,” an NBA executive said. “And this is a guy you would have said was top 10 before the season for sure.”
Maybe even top five. But deep into what was supposed to be a sophomore season with the Chapel Hill spotlight mostly to himself, McAdoo has tumbled so far on team draft boards that it is not just possible he will slip entirely out of the lottery the night of June 27. It is easy to see happening.
The cause for the fall has been debated – some front offices say the perspective of time shows he was oversold as a freshman, others maintain McAdoo was lottery-level good last season before deciding to stay in school, only to have his lack of star power exposed once Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall, John Henson and Tyler Zeller left North Carolina as 2012 first-round picks.
“I think he’s still a phenomenal player,” said Zeller, now a Cavaliers center. “It’s just (opponents) can focus more on him whereas last year we had a lot more players that he kind of got away from and he could kind of slide in there and make it a little easier on himself.”
McAdoo, a distant relative of Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo, is averaging 14.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in 29.4 minutes while shooting 45.4 percent. One number that jumps out to NBA evaluators: he is a 6-foot-9 power forward with six blocks in 529 minutes. Even elite pro prospects not known for defense should get more than that by accident, especially when McAdoo should be dominating lesser opponents early in the season on muscle memory alone.
He is a good athlete, but the lack of a reliable perimeter game is a problem for any attempt to consider McAdoo at small forward. He rebounds well – 8.3 per game – but needs to get stronger to have that translate at the next level, and being a bad free-throw shooter (58.3 percent) means teams will have no problem with McAdoo getting the ball inside. Hack away. And while power forwards don’t need to be skilled passers, having more than twice as many turnovers (52) than assists (23) shows another glaring problem.
“I was really surprised,” an exec said after recently scouting Carolina. “He had so much more talent around him (last season). He didn’t have to be the man. I liked his upside a lot more than what I saw this year.”