Ethan Skolnick of Five Reasons Sports Network looked at how Adebayo has emerged as an under-the-radar standout who was apparently so anonymous that media personality Colin Cowherd didn’t even know his name:
“It’s about theMiami Heat’s first-round pick in 2017, the one they likely wouldn’t have been in position to acquire if they had done the right thing by Dwyane Wade in 2016; the one whom they privately described on draft night as the ‘anti-Hassan’ in comparison to the numbers-before-team big man they had unfortunately re-signed to a max; the one they researched more thoroughly than any previous draft prospect without finding a single red flag; the one many Heat fans didn’t want at the time but was anointed by the Heat’s historical frontcourt royalty as the next to carry the franchise tradition; the one that the fickle, unforgiving Jimmy Butler tells associates is ‘the best teammate I’ve ever had.'”
Those accolades figure to only grow in the years ahead as Adebayo continues to build on an NBA resume that’s only in its third season.
In Adebayo’s first full year as a starter, the big man is averaging 16.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. That all-around ability and off-the-chart work ethic are why he’s viewed so favorably in comparison to Whiteside, who was dealt to Portland in the offseason.
Whiteside’s lack of consistency, complaints about playing time and propensity for injury, especially after signing a huge four-year deal in 2016, only served to aggravate the Heat front office.
Numerous efforts to deal Whiteside fell short, largely because of his contract. The Heat were finally able to rid themselves of the veteran soon after they acquired Butler during the offseason.
Adebayo doesn’t turn 23 until July and is on pace to garner a huge contract in the years ahead. The good news for the Heat is that, right now, they’re definitely getting their money’s worth from him.