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 a big way.
In fact, an NBA executive recently said that Adebayo can be considered a “top 10, top 15 player” in the league when he is playing the way that he has lately.
“When Bam plays aggressive, and when he is playing like he is the best guy on the floor, he is a Top 10, Top 15 player,” the executive told Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. “But he doesn’t always do that, does he? You could see it during 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 four or five shots. I think there is some frustration from the team that he doesn’t bring that aggressiveness every night. If he is the best player and Jimmy Butler is the No. 2 option and Tyler Herro No. 3, that is a lot better team than when Bam lets himself be the third option.”
The executive 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 week.
In Wednesday’s loss against Boston, Adebayo finished with 23 points on 52.6 percent shooting from the field.
In Friday’s overtime win over the Celtics, Adebayo amped it up on the floor, finishing the night with 28 points and seven boards on 55.6 percent shooting from the field.
His point totals and efficiency have been impressive, but perhaps the starkest difference fans have seen in Adebayo lately has been his aggressiveness on the offensive side.
In the first 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 clear indication that Adebayo is taking his offensive role more seriously as of late. It’s huge news for a Heat team that is looking for ways to get back into the upper echelon of the East.
For years, Adebayo has been pegged as one of the most versatile big men in the NBA. Unfortunately, he hasn’t always played up to his potential on the offensive end. It looks like that issue might be something of the past.
If the University of Kentucky product can keep playing like he has lately, the 11-12 Heat should be above .500 in no time.