For an undrafted rookie in the NBA, it can be difficult to earn consistent playing time, and because of that, it can be difficult for a player to gain some confidence and truly establish their game at the NBA level. James Michael McAdoo has experienced this so far in his time with the Golden State Warriors, but he’s shown promise when given a chance.
In the last five Warriors games, here are McAdoo’s minutes starting with the game on March 24th against the Portland Trail Blazers: zero, three, 23, two, 22. If that isn’t inconsistency, it’s unclear what is.
There is an explanation to this inconsistency though, as Steve Kerr has adjusted his rotation based on matchups, rest for the veterans, and the score of the game.
Despite this inconsistency in minutes, McAdoo has started to show the Warriors and their fans that he could be a diamond in the rough. The undrafted rookie out of North Carolina has dealt with the inconsistent minutes admirably.
His stat line of 4.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.7 blocks, and 52.6 percent shooting in 9.3 minutes per game in 12 games might not be overly impressive, but McAdoo has started to shine because of some intangibles that aren’t captured in basic statistics.
McAdoo is still fine-tuning his game and is still somewhat raw in areas, but his confidence and comfort level appears to grow each game. When watching him on the bench, he appears to be a sponge, as any rookie should be, just soaking in as much information as he possibly can.April 2, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward James Michael McAdoo (20) shoots the basketball against Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris (11) during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Suns 107-106. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
McAdoo also just looks like his belongs. He can appear a little wide-eyed at times, but who wouldn’t look like that when someone plays on the best and most entertaining team in the NBA and plays alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson?
Part of the reason why McAdoo looks like he belongs on this Warriors team and in the NBA is because he started off the season with the Santa Cruz Warriors, where he got consistent playing time and was able to learn the Warriors’ system.
In addition, he was in the Warriors’ training camp, so he was able to get his first dose of the NBA there and learn not just the Warriors’ system but also how NBA players prepare for an NBA season. This must have been invaluable experience, especially for an undrafted player.
McAdoo also displays great defensive instincts and timing when he’s on the court, in addition to high energy. Those are qualities that can’t necessarily be taught, and those will certainly help him in his development as an NBA player.
As mentioned before, McAdoo’s per-game stats might not be overly astounding, but his shooting percentage and his blocks per game are intriguing. Per 36 minutes, he averages 16.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 1.6 steals, and 2.6 blocks.
Of course, if Kerr played him 36 minutes, he wouldn’t necessarily put up these numbers, but it’s a good indication that he has potential and he’s on the right track.
McAdoo was so impressive in his NBA debut that he even received a standing ovation from the crowd at Oracle Arena in a blowout win against the Denver Nuggets. In his debut, he played 13 minutes and scored 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting, along with collecting five rebounds and blocking one shot.
He had one of his best nights as a pro on Thursday against the Phoenix Suns when he played 22 minutes, scored eight points on 3-for-5 shooting, grabbed a career-high eight rebounds, blocked one shot, and got a steal too.
McAdoo has played in just 12 games, and this is obviously such a small sample size that it’s hard to come to any concrete conclusions on what his future is with the Warriors and the NBA. However, he’s displayed a calm, collected demeanor and seems to really fit in with this Warriors team and in the NBA overall.
It’s unclear if McAdoo will earn any playing time in the playoffs, but he could provide some of the Warriors’ bigs with some valuable rest during the rest of the season.
This is his time to shine, and all signs point to him continuing to make a good first impression.
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