After reports swirled over the past few weeks that Reggie might fall out of the first round altogether, the Clippers stepped up and took the sharpshooter at #25. Congratulations to Reggie, who we hope will surprise people at the next level as much as Danny Green has. Both are great from beyond the arc, both have nice size and strength, both rebound and both are better-than-expected defenders. Only one has a sweet fauxhawk though.
It is a bit strange that the Clippers took him considering Doc Rivers is the new coach there and he’s on the record as saying he “hates” North Carolina. Oh, well. Guess Mason Plumlee was already gone by #25.
It seems Bullock’s prime motivation for leaving early was the money. His family has never been well off, and he was understandably anxious to take care of them, himself and his new baby. Mission accomplished. Because he was chosen in the first round, his contract is guaranteed for two years, and even going late in the first, Bullock stands to make around $957,000 his first year, and a cool million his second. The Clippers will then have an option on his third and fourth years.
Coach Williams has said outright that he didn’t think Bullock was ready for the NBA, saying he shouldn’t have gone and he more worried about Reggie than any other player who left early. But Bullock acquitted himself nicely in the pre-draft workouts, and seems to have done enough to negate the criticism that he wasn’t all that athletic and couldn’t defend. Now he’s a first-rounder.
What can you say about what Danny Green has been doing in the Finals? He has been lighting it up from three at a historic clip. And all this from a guy who was cut by Cleveland and even his own team. Twice. (Thanks, Danny Ferry!) Now he’s one game away from a championship.
We were talking a few months back about the lack of a Carolina-produced stars in the NBA on the level of a Vince Carter or even an Antawn Jamison (ten years ago). Ty Lawson seemed the most likely possibility to become an All-star, but now it’s all about Green. This guy rules. We love him. Did you see that massive block he had on Bron-Bron the other night? In what universe did anyone think Green would be playing such a pivotal role in the Finals? Here’s hoping he wins an NBA ring tonight to go along with his NCAA one, despite Chris Bosh’s talk that Green “won’t be open” anymore. We’ll see about that…
OK, we now know Andrew Wiggins won’t be in the equation next year. Dude is going to Kansas instead. Fine. Carolina is too clogged at the forward spot anyway. Wiggins is also likely a one-and-done guy, so his impact wouldn’t be long-term. Not that we couldn’t have used him, but still. We’ll take our chances with the great roster already assembled.
With that out of the way, let the speculation about the starting line-up begin. Three players seem pretty safe locks to start: Marcus Paige, P.J. Hairston and James Michael McAdoo. The other two slots are very much up for grabs. You would think that after the success Roy Williams had with the smaller line-up last season, he might go in that direction again, but he has already hinted that won’t be the case. UNC will try and return to a more traditional rotation with a true 5 on the floor. That still leaves us with so many questions. Could McAdoo move to the 3 spot and become more of a shooter and slasher? Or will McDonald become a starter, keeping McAdoo at the 4? Will any of the freshmen earn starting honors?
So what do YOU think? Who has the greatest chance to enter the starting five?
We love these ridiculously early pre-season polls. Here’s CBS‘s, and they have the Heels at #8, behind Kentucky, Louisville, Duke, Michigan State and others. And as Adam Lucas has pointed out, Carolina will face 5 of the top 6 teams on the list next season, including an away game vs. Michigan State in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. It’s gonna be a tough one.
We can already tell that we’re gonna love Kennedy Meeks next year, no matter how much or how little playing time he actually sees. He’s really personable on camera, and he clearly loves UNC. Watch him tell Jabari Parker he was “stupid” for not going to North Carolina. Best of all, Kennedy talks about how he loves to bang down in the post with the big boys. Yes! This is exactly what the team needs, a bruiser with a post game in the mold of Sean May.
Yeah, this is kind of ridiculous, but Joe Lunardi over at ESPN has put out his postseason bracket looking at the 2014 tournament, and he has UNC as a #3 seed. With Hairston and McAdoo returning, that seems about right. Other notes: Kentucky goes from losing in the first round of the NIT this year to becoming a #1 seed next. Also seems probable. And Lunardi also puts Dook on the #1 line. Really?
On the year-end awards episode, we decided not to hand out a trophy for best assist, because few had been particularly spectacular. Paige is a great point guard, but he doesn’t yet dish the flashy kinds of dimes we got from Kendall Marshall. That said, one listener suggested this assist in the FSU game, and it is pretty strong. Check it out at the :23 mark. Paige drives, draws and throws a no-look bounce pass to a cutting McAdoo. Nice.