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Why Miami Heat Teammates Expect Bam Adebayo to Take Major Leap This Season
- Updated: September 13, 2019
Over the summer, Derrick Jones Jr., Duncan Robinson and Udonis Haslem have all spoken about Adebayo’s potential to elevate his game to the next level this season. The trade that sent Hassan Whiteside to the Portland Trail Blazers this summer may have sped up that process.
Heat point guard Goran Dragic is also among Adebayo’s believers.
“First off, he’s going to get more minutes, more exposure,” Dragic said. “He already got tested, and we know what he can do. He’s a great player, great screener, roll to the basket. He brings a lot of energy to the team and I feel like this year is going to be different. More minutes, more responsibility. Everybody feels like, including me, that he’s ready for this big step in his career.”
When Adebayo took over the starting center spot from Whiteside during the last few months of the 2018-19 season, it gave the 6-foot-10 center the confidence boost he needed.
In his last 22 games, Adebayo averaged 11.6 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists. All these were significant improvements over his overall season averages of 8.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
It’s reasonable to expect that Adebayo will be even better this season. According to an earlier statement from Jones, Adebayo has improved his shotmaking from the perimeter.
“He’s a shooter,” Jones said. “Everybody should have known by now. He didn’t shoot them last year because that was something we didn’t need him to do at the time. But now the ball is going to be in Bam’s hands a little bit more, so Bam’s going to be shooting those shots.”
Adebayo could have been part of a number of trade scenarios this summer, but the Heat reportedly chose not to include him in discussions because of his potential to become one of their top players.
On Wednesday, the Heat showed their trust in the big man by picking up the fourth-year option on his rookie contract.