End of Season Evaluations: Forwards

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Here is a look at how the UNC forwards ended up.

James Michael McAdoo

Stats

Gms MPG PPG FG% FT% APG RPG BPG SPG ORtg
34 30.1 14.2 45.8% 53.7% 1.7 6.8 0.9 1.3 103.9


Analysis

The junior forward put together a generally solid season with the exception of two noticeable flaws. McAdoo still has trouble finishing around the rim and his free throw shooting actually declined from last season. Besides that, McAdoo showed slight signs of improvement in his overall shooting and offensive rating compared to last season. His rebounding took a slight dip but that was to be expected given the presence of other big men this season and McAdoo not playing the five.

Despite some of the issues with his game, McAdoo put together a solid stretch of basketball from late December up until the game at Florida State where he fouled out in 13 minutes. McAdoo's shooting percentage during that stretch was above 50% and he turned in some nice performances. The most noteworthy was 24 points and 12 rebounds in the win over Pittsburgh. In the win over Clemson which started the 12 game winning streak, McAdoo's play was a clear catalyst and sign of a Tar Heel team playing with a new sense of urgency. The latter portion of the ACC schedule saw McAdoo continue to score in double figures but his efficiency took a hit.

It is unclear at this point whether McAdoo will return for his senior season. His draft stock is non-existent and unlike past seasons, no one is really talking about McAdoo going through the decision process. In all likelihood he is doing that and discussing his options with head coach Roy Williams and his family. Given that McAdoo has marginally improved from season to season and has averaged 14 ppg in 2013 and 2014 his return would be a plus. He is a capable defender(when he stays out of foul trouble) and is a match-up nightmare for opposing fours. If he can figure out how to finally finish consistently at the rim, his senior year could be huge.

J.P. Tokoto

Stats

Gms MPG PPG FG% 3P% FT% APG RPG BPG SPG ORtg
34 28.7 9.3 48.9% 22.2% 50.0% 3.1 5.8 0.5 1.6 102.9


Analysis

If Marcus Paige was the most improved player from last season to this one, J.P. Tokoto might be the most improved player as the season went on. The sophomore from Wisconsin went from being a player that had some moments to a reliable option at the wing forward. At one point, I actually had arguments on Twitter with people who claimed Tokoto wasn't very good. There was plenty of consideration given to incoming freshman Justin Jackson starting next season ahead of Tokoto. After all, Tokoto was just good for a flashy dunk right?

That has all been put to rest as Tokoto's late season surge showed he is poised to do big things next season. Over the last half of the season his overall shooting numbers improved as he began to consistently hit a mid-range jumper. His free throw shooting also rose and Tokoto continued to be a player that "stuffed" the stat sheet with assists, steals and rebounds. Tokoto scored in double figures in seven of UNC's last ten games and averaged 3.8 assists per game. In addition to his improving offensive game, Tokoto was named to the ACC's All-Defensive team.

Heading into next season, Tokoto's next big step is to develop a reliable perimeter shot. For the season Tokoto shot 22% from three and only hit four threes in 18 ACC games. Generally speaking the rest of Tokoto's game is on a nice trajectory. He can handle the ball, has a knack for facilitating and his ability to slash and score has improved over the course of the season. Adding a jump shot to make him another dimension to his game would make him a legitimate scoring threat and resolve some still lingering questions UNC will have about perimeter scoring.

Isaiah Hicks

Stats

Gms MPG PPG FG% FT% APG RPG BPG SPG Ortg
34 7.3 1.2 41.7% 57.9% 0.2 1.0 0.4 0.1 87.1


Analysis

Isaiah Hicks, like some other freshman in Roy Williams' system, was largely invisible in his first season. His numbers from playing time to meaningful productions were paltry to say the least. In what playing time Hicks did have, there were issues on the defensive end and some foul trouble. While Hicks came in highly touted, he didn't produce at that level amid a crowded front court that often saw him pushed to play at the three.

Given the past season offered little material, the discussion of Hicks naturally turns to the future. The frontcourt next season still looks to be crowded and with the arrival of Justin Jackson and Theo Pinson, the three will likely be manned by true wing players. That will still leave Hicks searching for playing time, assuming McAdoo returns. The good news is there are plenty of examples of UNC players making huge jumps in development from their freshman to sophomore seasons. Two of Hicks' teammates, J.P. Tokoto and Brice Johnson are such examples. There is no doubt Hicks has the physical gifts and another offseason should do him a world of good.

As for playing time, it's Roy Williams. He have a nice, fat rotation going next season and Hicks should be able to gleans some opportunity from that.

Jackson Simmons

Stats

Gms MPG PPG FG% FT% APG RPG BPG SPG ORtg
32 5.8 1.0 55.0% 50.0% 0.3 1.1 0.0 0.2 115.8


Analysis

Jackson Simmons continues to be "that guy" who shows up in a game and makes some random play. He will never be a huge contributor and there will be times he is overmatched by the competition. However he is also a guy who has shown the uncanny ability to make a play because he is doing something fundamentally sound. This past season, Simmons had the reputation of being the player who came in the game because one of UNC's big men didn't rotate on defense or make the right play.

The question facing Simmons next season is whether he will play much. On one level Simmons not playing would be a good sign. It would mean the stable of more talented players are doing their respective jobs and any Simmons' appearances are just Roy Williams stretching out his rotation early in the season. If not, then he could see some floor time but his production will largely be what it has been.

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