Miami Heat rising star Bam Adebayo received very little respect from ESPN’s panel of experts in a preseason prediction poll for the 2021-22 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
Adebayo was listed as the seventh and final contender. He was placed behind Rudy Gobert, Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Draymond Green, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Moreover, it doesn’t look like the Heat big man received any first-place votes in the poll.
Adebayo is one of the more underrated defenders in the NBA. He uses his 6-foot-9 frame to his advantage and brings a lot of value to the table on the defensive end.
It seems like Adebayo’s defensive prowess sometimes gets overshadowed by some of his other skills. A player’s defensive impact doesn’t always show up in the box score, while a player’s offensive impact often does.
For example, the youngster averaged 18.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game in the 2020-21 season while shooting 57.0 percent from the field.
The 24-year-old will look to prove the naysayers wrong in the upcoming season. If anything, ESPN’s preseason poll could serve as added motivation for Adebayo to excel on the defensive end.