For a second straight year the NBA Champion has included a Tar Heel in the starting lineup
Last season Danny Green helped the San Antonio Spurs win the NBA Championship. This season it was Harrison Barnes and the Golden State Warriors taking the title with a 105-97 win over Cleveland to clinch the series 4-2. In addition to Barnes, James Michael McAdoo enjoyed one of the best seats in the house from the Golden State bench.
While Barnes has yet to blossom into the All-Star caliber player people thought he would be, he has nonetheless been a valuable contributor for the Warriors in the playoffs. His 24 points in the series clinching win over Houston in the Western Conference Finals was critical in getting Golden State to the NBA Finals. In the title series, Barnes played well for the most part with the notable exception of Game 3 where Barnes was 0-8 from the floor.
Barnes bounced back in Game 4 with the Warriors trailing 2-1 to post 14 points, eight rebounds and two blocks as Golden State evened the series. In the pivotal Game 5, Barnes grabbed 10 rebounds and scored 8 points which included a dunk on LeBron James and another on two other Cavalier players. In the series clincher, Barnes went for nine points on 3-4 shooting from three. For the series Barnes averaged 8.8 ppg, 5;8 rpg and shot 42.1% from three.
Last season when James Michael McAdoo decided to leave UNC for the NBA after his junior season, the decision was questioned. McAdoo went undrafted but ultimately ended up with the Warriors in the preseason. McAdoo was later released. McAdoo went to the development league, played well and helped the Warriors affiliate Santa Cruz win the D-League Championship. After that win, McAdoo was recalled and has been with the Warriors for the remainder of the season. While his career as a pro is still yet to really get off the ground, his decision to leave UNC could not have worked out any better.
Barnes and McAdoo are now the 16th and 17th former Tar Heel players to win an NBA Championship.
The irony of Harrison Barnes getting a ring in large part because his opponents had a hurt point guard is not lost.— brett thompson (@brettlive) June 17, 2015