In my look at Brady Heslip, I questioned how his perimeter shooting prowess would be able to transition into Byron Scott's offensive system that focuses more on long two's and cuts to the paint than anything else. While having a perimeter threat like Heslip could certainly help out the Lakers, finding a player that could be a better fit inside the team's current offensive scheme would be more beneficial. One of the more notable D-League prospects that could be a solid addition to the Lakers would be current Santa Cruz Warriors forward James Michael McAdoo.
After being a highly touted prospect through high school and his freshman year at North Carolina, McAdoo's stock quickly deteriorated once he became the emphasis of the Tar Heels' offense. McAdoo failed to develop an all-around offensive game while trying to adjust to an increased role. While his athleticism was still excellent, defenses started to be able to pack the paint because of his inability to score from outside. McAdoo only made 21.6 percent of his jump shots during his final season with North Carolina.
McAdoo went undrafted in the 2014 Draft because of the worries surrounding his limited offensive game. Subsequently to that, McAdoo was picked up by the Golden State Warriors but was one of the final players waived before the start of the regular season. Because of his connections with the Warriors, McAdoo was immediately transferred to their D-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors.
Perhaps the largest difference between McAdoo's time with North Carolina to his current stint with Santa Cruz would be that he isn't asked to take on too much of an offensive burden. With Santa Cruz, McAdoo is aligned with notable scorers Elliot Williams and Carrick Felix, while also playing with a top-notch distributor in Aaron Craft. That wide array of talent has allowed McAdoo to work off-ball to use his quickness and fantastic athleticism.
Even though his lack of skills as a ball-handler held him back at North Carolina, that ability has improved with Santa Cruz. McAdoo has been great at setting screens, catching the ball, then penetrating toward the paint. Here's a look at how he's performing in the D-league:
McAdoo has become one of the D-League's best offensive rebounders. He's averaging 3.4 offensive boards per game, which would just put him behind Jordan Hill if he accomplished the same feat on the Lakers.
Of course, you're going to have to take those offensive rebounding numbers with a grain of salt, considering that there's only a handful of players in the D-League that could be classified as a center. At 6'9, McAdoo is one of the longest players in the entire D-League once you factor in his 7'2 wingspan. While McAdoo may still be able to rebound against NBA competition, he probably won't be as effective as he currently is with Santa Cruz.
An aspect of the game where McAdoo might retain his effectiveness would be on the defensive end. McAdoo has some defensive flexibility, as his combination of size and length allows him to defend post players. His quickness enables him to occasionally switch onto guards as well. Outside of on-ball defense, McAdoo has shown numerous flashes of being a good help defender, proven by his 3.7 blocks per game.
Regarding his fit with the Lakers, it would be better for the team to sign him to take a small flier on him now rather than just simply pick him up for a 10-day deal. McAdoo is still a raw talent with a solid amount of potential. Whether or not he'll be able to reach that potential is still in question, but you can definitely see McAdoo continuing to progress as the D-League season goes on. He already looks comfortable on the defensive end, which is an attribute that could immediately have a positive impact.
On the other end of the spectrum, McAdoo still needs to develop some sort of presence away from the paint. While the combination of quickness and athleticism should make him into a capable off-ball cutter, McAdoo has to exhibit some sort of ability to spot-up and hit an occasional open mid-range jumper to spread out his offensive game.
With the close proximity between the location of the D-Fenders and the Lakers, McAdoo could easily transition between the two organizations without much hassle. When McAdoo is with the Lakers, he'd still be at the end of the bench, but it'd allow the coaching and training staff a chance to work with him. He could fit in nicely with the higher paced Lakers offense as an effective off-ball weapon that's comfortable with cutting to the rim and getting to the free-throw line.
Whether or not James McAdoo is in the immediate plans of the Lakers, the team does need to be in pursuit of a player like him that would be classified in the "low risk, medium reward" type of prospect. These players are widely available throughout the NBA D-League, which is why we're here trying to spotlight potential diamonds in the rough to begin with.