Miami Heat big man Bam Adebayo is widely seen as one of the best defenders in the entire league.
However, he seems to think that he doesn’t get the respect that he deserves for his efforts on the defensive side of the court. He felt disrespected when he found out that he didn’t win the Defensive Player of the Year award last season, which ended up going to Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart.
Bam Adebayo says he didn't know he wasn't a DPOY finalist until talking to media after practice. His response:
"Disrespectful… I can do anything those other guys can do."
Goes on to cite the lack of national TV games as a reason. pic.twitter.com/E8wzs3MrqD
— Wes Goldberg (@wcgoldberg) April 18, 2022
Adebayo recently talked himself up during an interview with Couper Moorhead, aligning himself with two other standout defenders as the best in the league.
“I feel like I’m damn near the only guy,” Adebayo told Moorhead. “Me, and I give Draymond [Green] and probably Giannis [Antetokounmpo], three guys who can literally guard 1-through-5 and be effective. Switch on to a Kyrie [Irving]. Switch onto K.D. (Kevin Durant). Switch onto Joel Embiid. The thing about guards winning it is they don’t be down there. They don’t be in that semi-circle.”
The University of Kentucky product definitely makes a solid point. There aren’t many players across the league that have the ability to guard all five positions.
Green and Antetokounmpo are two other players that can guard any position on the court. Both of them are one-time winners of the Defensive Player of the Year award.
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James used to be thought of as someone who could guard all five positions, but he’s regressed a bit on that end over the past few seasons. Many still believe that James should’ve been named Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 when then-Memphis Grizzlies big man Marc Gasol won the award.
As for Adebayo, he has made a name for himself in the league on defense, having already made three All-Defensive teams in five seasons.
His efforts on that end were part of the reason why the Heat were able to make it all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season. He dominated on defense throughout the playoffs.
It seems like it’s only a matter of time before the former first-round pick ends up winning Defensive Player of the Year honors. Over the past three seasons, he’s finished in fourth place twice and fifth place once.
Alonzo Mourning is the only Heat player to ever win the award, as he won it during the 1998-99 and 1999-00 seasons. Adebayo will surely look to change that this coming season.