WRAL SportsFan's Caulton Tudor doesn't think much of James Michael McAdoo's decision to forego his senior year at Carolina and declare for the NBA draft.
Tudor notes that the Tar Heel junior is likely at best a second-round pick (although some sources have placed him anywhere from late first-round to not being drafted at all), and I suppose that is why he considers the decision a mistake since he offers no other supporting evidence. He offers some twisted pretzel logic in showing how things may turn out fine for McAdoo, since draft gurus and NBA executives have projected and drafted other UNC big men (such as Marvin Williams, Ed Davis, and Brandan Wright) higher in the draft and they have not exactly panned out as stars. Tudor's logic goes that if they were wrong about those guys being stars, they could also be wrong about McAdoo not being one. Wait, what?
Back to the original premise, however: is McAdoo making a mistake by leaving early? The answer depends on your definition of a mistake. Two years ago, there was the possibility that McAdoo could have been a lottery pick based on the flashes of brilliance he showed playing behind future NBA players Tyler Zeller and John Henson. McAdoo chose to stay and has had two inconsistent years in which he has seemingly not lived up to the potential he demonstrated as a freshman. His mid-range jumper has never really come around, his rebounding is suspect, and his free throw shooting struggles made many Tar Heel fans cringe. On the plus side, he is long and athletic and seems to have a solid work ethic.
McAdoo was a potential lottery pick based on the potential he showed as a freshman, but the sad reality is that he never really advanced much past what we saw that first year. His sophomore season was inconsistent but much of that was attributed to losing Zeller and Henson and becoming the focus of opponents' interior defenses. Plus, historically players under Roy Williams have made their best gains from their sophomore to junior years, so it seemed logical that McAdoo would come back for a third year. Clearly McAdoo did not improve significantly this past season, which made his decision to leave a head-scratcher.
So it is likely possible that McAdoo is what he is, and what he ever will be, at the college level. If that is the case, then it is not really a mistake for him to leave now. If the thought process is that his skill set will not likely improve in the next season, then why stay, other than to play for a potential national title contender, which Carolina may be with or without McAdoo.
In the end, I defer to the expertise of Roy Williams, who was unequivocal in his support of McAdoo's decision. No one in college basketball is any better than Roy at ascertaining his players' draft values and advising them on when to make the jump. After all, Williams is the one who turned Marvin Williams, Brandan Wright, Ed Davis, and most of all Sean May into lottery picks. I would guess Roy knows something we don't which is why he is fully behind McAdoo leaving the nest after this season.