Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo had the best overall game of his NBA career against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night, leading Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra to gush that he “couldn’t afford to take him out” of the game.
“He asked to come out a couple times tonight, we couldn’t afford to take him out,” Spoelstra said after the game. “He was making too many things happen. That’s what you want to do as a player.”
The Heat’s 2017 first-round pick out of the University of Kentucky put up solid numbers while playing the most minutes of any Heat player. In his 36 minutes, Adebayo grabbed 21 rebounds and scored 16 points on 40 percent shooting.
“My teammates want me to be aggressive offensively and defensively,” Adebayo said. “And I’m doing that for them. We don’t want to play four on five basketball, so they want me to be aggressive. They want me to crash the glass and they want me to defend.”
Miami’s veteran guard Dwyane Wade explained why the team wants this kind of game out of Adebayo.
“I think he understands how defenses are playing the guards, and he’s able to get the ball in that pocket,” Wade said. “He’s able to get mismatches, he’s offensive rebounding and he’s being aggressive. So he just looks more comfortable and we need that out of him. We need that when he gets the ball, to be aggressive to make plays or score himself.”
Wade’s 35 points set a Heat record for bench scoring in a game.
Adebayo is known for his defense and has been shy shooting the ball this season, with only 12.5 attempts per 100 possessions. This new, more “aggressive” Adebayo might be exactly what the Heat need as they seek to find their way through a disappointing start to the season.
The Heat return home to face the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday.