Overview: A talented shooting guard who is still trying to fulfill his potential after missing his second year as a pro with a knee injury. Is almost completely back to where he was physically. Not the biggest player around, but makes up for that with very nice athleticism and an extremely high skill level on the perimeter. Stronger than most guards, and has a tremendous 6-11 wingspan. Has a terrific stroke and is an extremely naturally talented scorer, but is a bit too one-dimensional considering the tools he has at his disposal. Looks too much for his own shot, very turnover prone, doesnt get to the free throw line enough, and doesnt contribute much beyond the scoring column. Had a tremendous three year career at UNC. Was a dominant offensive player in the ACC from day one. Was a key component of the Tar Heel squad that won the National Championship in 2005. Had a decent rookie season. Rebounded extremely well from his injury plagued sophomore campaign. Has somewhat of a reputation for being a malcontent, and has had problems with his coaches throughout his career. Body language, attitude can look questionable at times. Will field quite a bit of interest when his rookie deal expires at the end of the 2009 season. With some slight adjustments to his mentality and technique and better teammates around him, could really blossom and emerge as a terrific prospect at the 2-guard position.
Offense: Tremendously talented player who still needs to learn the nuances of playing efficient team basketball. A true gunner who fancies himself as somewhat of a go-to guy offensively. Amongst the league leaders in both field goal attempts and turnovers per minute. Gets about a third of his touches on the pick and roll with another fifth coming from each of spot ups and isolations. Doing a lot more ball handling now than he used to. Possesses a great jump shot. Not bothered by a hand in his face. Quite a catch and shoot option. Knocks down the three at a superb rate. Shows great perimeter footwork. Terrific shooter off the dribble when hes making good decisions. Shoots the same shot every time. Will get a little aggressive with his shot selection. Settles for bad shots early in possessions and has a tendency to freeze out his teammates at times. Has the ability to make tough, off-balance shots, but relies too heavily on this part of his game. Scores effectively from all over the place, but isnt a good finisher at the rim. Lack of size and toughness at the rim makes it difficult for him to finish in traffic. Tends to avoid contact at times and gets to the free throw line at a poor rate considering his usage. Has the length and athleticism to finish some impressive dunks over defenders, but is much more content pulling up off the dribble from mid-range. Shifty ball handler. Can break his man down one-on-one, but lacks the slashing mentality to be a great isolation threat. Is far too turnover prone considering how little he gets to the rim. Becoming an effective option in pick and roll situations. Sees the floor well and has a nice all-around feel for the game, but is too lackadaisical at times in his approach. Can create some matchup problems with his ability to post up smaller guards. Doesnt get the chance to operate against shorter players all that often limiting his effectiveness. Gets too aggressive at times. Needs to improve his discipline in the flow of the offense to reach his potential.
Defense: Has the length, strength and athleticism to be extremely effective on the wing. Appears to put good effort into this end of the floor at times and possesses good smarts and fundamentals, making him fairly capable when he wants to be. Takes possessions off on the defensive end, like everyone on Minnesota, but is an asset when he comes to play. Closes out under control and does a good job contesting shots and denying penetration. Makes up for his lack of prototypical size with his excellent wingspan. Uses his body extremely well, and will force his man to change directions when he seems to be beat. Will show extremely active hands in bursts. Doesnt come over to help out from the weakside. Caters his defense to his matchup, showing great intensity when hes guarding an elite player, but relaxing when hes posed with a player that wont score much. Does a good job recognizing his matchup, playing off players who arent shooters and crowding those that are. Not going to force many turnovers. Wont rebound the ball at a very good rate at all. A cerebral defender that maintains good position, and knows what it takes to get the job done. Needs to avoid taking nights off and letting lesser players score on him when hes not focused. Would help him to have a shot-blocking presence behind him to help out when he gets beat.
An extremely skilled offensive player. Scores from all over the court and just has a great knack for putting the ball in the basket.
An outstanding shooter with great range. Has great form on his jump shot and should have no problem making the transition to the NBA three point line. Excellent free throw shooter and has a good mid-range game as well (although he doesn't use it enough). Very strong, has good upper and lower body strength and has a good vertical leap. Has an excellent post-up game, but it's hard to see this translating to the NBA considering that he'll always be giving up a couple of inches to his matchup.
McCants is a fiery competitor. He always wears his heart on his sleeve, for better or for worse. He's not afraid of challenges and will take the ball strong to the hoop no matter who is guarding it.
McCants has shown improvement in many areas this year, including his defense, shot selection and passing. He appears to be a more mature player this year.
Size is a serious concern. He's listed at 6-4, but has hinted that he is actually closer to 6-2. I can't think of even one NBA SG that starts for his team at that size, except Cuttino Mobley. Problem is, McCants isn't even close to being the athlete that Mobley is, and isn't a very good defender at all compared to Mobley either. McCants is going to have problems getting his shot off in the NBA. That's a big concern because if his shot isn't falling for him, there really isn't that much to his game. He might have to even change position in the pros (much like Forte), but has shown nothing to lead us to believe that he has any sort of PG skills. Quite the opposite actually.
McCants isn't an incredible athlete and that hurts his NBA potential considering his size. His first step is just average for an NBA SG, and he doesn't have great quickness either. Combine that with his only average ball-handling skills and you have to wonder how well he'll be able to slash to the hoop in the NBA.
Poor shot selection has always been a problem for McCants, but he's showed some progress in this area this past season.
Defensively, he has shown sparks of being a capable defender guarding players his size, especially with his physical style of play, but doesn't do it often enough. It's not rare to see him getting torched on the perimeter, and this doesn't seem to bother him too much. He has the strength to fight through screens, but doesn't put in a huge effort here. He's often late on defensive rotations, and his lateral quickness is a little suspect.
His attitude is very questionable and this is something the NBA teams will undoubtedly be focusing in on with their psychological tests. Has very poor body language and appears to get frustrated easily when things aren't going his way. Has a reputation for being somewhat of a headcase with the incidents that have piled up over the past three years, including the off the court problems he had with former UNC coach Matt Doherty, which ultimately led him to being benched. Last year he was thrown off UNC's bench by Coach Williams for refusing to cheer on his teammates. The throat slashing gestures he made mid-way through the season at NC State fans didn't help matters much.
He was invited to try-out for the U-20 US national squad last summer, but was sent home for one reason or another by Coach Sampson, despite the fact that in terms of talent he would have been one of the best players on the team.
Most famous are his comments comparing playing at UNC to being in jail, saying that basketball is just a job for him: "my 9-to-5. As my uncle said, I'm in jail right now. You're not allowed to do certain things; you're not allowed to say certain things. But once you get out of jail, you're free. So I'm just in my sentence, and I'm doing my time."
Whether or not his quotes were taken out of context is debatable, but McCants definitely needs to learn to keep his mouth shut sometimes and just be smarter when dealing with the media. The tattoos he has: "Born to be hated" on one arm and "Dying to be loved" on the other sum him up pretty well.
McCants' scoring numbers are down this year, but that's because North Carolina has a much deeper team and are blowing out people left and right, which has dropped McCants' minutes by 20%.
He's been one of the top scorers in college since his freshman year. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that he's the best pure scorer in the NCAA right now.
McCants is a junior and still has his draft card to burn. There's no reason to believe that he won't declare this year, but will have to prove himself in workouts and possibly the Chicago pre-draft camp to be considered an absolute lock for the first round. Some people are very high on McCants' ability to put the ball in the basket, and considering the lack of depth at the shooting guard position this year, he could conceivably work his way into the late lottery with superb workouts. With that said, he could just as well find himself falling out of the first round if his size and baggage scare off enough teams.