The Miami Heat have been benefiting immensely from an engaged and aggressive Bam Adebayo as of late, and he has put the league on notice in an enormous way.
In truth, an NBA executive recently said that Adebayo might be considered a “top 10, top 15 player player” within the league when he’s playing the way in which that he has these days.
“When Bam plays aggressive, and when he’s playing like he’s the very best guy on the ground, he’s a Top 10, Top 15 player,” the chief told Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. “But he doesn’t all the time try this, does he? You can see it throughout the conference finals against the [Boston] Celtics—when he was aggressive, Boston had no answer for him. That Game 3 up in Boston, he was unstoppable (31 points on 15-for-22 shooting). But then he’d have games where he takes 4 or five shots. I feel there’s some frustration from the team that he doesn’t bring that aggressiveness every night. If he’s the very best player and Jimmy Butler is the No. 2 option and Tyler Herro No. 3, that’s loads higher team than when Bam lets himself be the third option.”
The chief referenced the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals matchup between the Heat and Celtics, when Adebayo showed some exciting flashes. Adebayo was impressive against the Celtics in two games this past week.
In Wednesday’s loss against Boston, Adebayo finished with 23 points on 52.6 percent shooting from the sector.
In Friday’s additional time win over the Celtics, Adebayo amped it up on the ground, ending the night with 28 points and 7 boards on 55.6 percent shooting from the sector.
His point totals and efficiency have been impressive, but perhaps the starkest difference fans have seen in Adebayo these days has been his aggressiveness on the offensive side.
In the primary 12 games that Adebayo played this season, he averaged just 13.3 shots per game. He was averaging 17.8 points per game during that stretch.
In his last nine games, he’s averaged 18.0 shots per contest and is putting up 25.3 points per game in that stretch.
That discrepancy is a transparent indication that Adebayo is taking his offensive role more seriously as of late. It’s huge news for a Heat team that’s in search of ways to get back into the upper echelon of the East.
For years, Adebayo has been pegged as one of the crucial versatile big men within the NBA. Unfortunately, he hasn’t all the time played as much as his potential on the offensive end. It looks like that issue is likely to be something of the past.
If the University of Kentucky product can keep playing like he has these days, the 11-12 Heat must be back to above .500 very quickly.