Bam Adebayo thinks he’s being unfairly critiqued when it comes to DPOY voting'
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Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat star Bam Adebayo shared some of his frustration when it comes to not winning a Defensive Player of the Year award.

The three-time All-Star wondered how he has not received the award despite anchoring a Miami defense that is filled with undrafted players in the rotation.

“A point guard (Marcus Smart) got it over me, a center (Rudy Gobert) got it over me, a power forward (Jaren Jackson Jr.) has gotten it over me,” Adebayo told Yahoo! Sports. “The goalposts move for me, in certain degrees. It’s me and a lot of undrafted dudes, and we still have a top-five defense.”

Adebayo has made five consecutive All-Defensive teams, and he’s finished in the top five in Defensive Player of the Year voting in each of those seasons.

During the 2023-24 season, the Heat finished fifth in the NBA in defensive rating, according to, behind only the Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder and Orlando Magic.

“These other guys have All-NBA dudes (around them),” Adebayo said. “Some of it is, they don’t really care about us and that’s fine. I think they should pay attention to consistency because being top five DPOY, I think I have the longest streak of All-Defensive teams, so the goalposts move for me.”

Adebayo makes an interesting point when it comes to the talent around some of the recent Defensive Player of the Year winners.

Take Gobert, for example, who won the award in the 2023-24 season. His teammate in Minnesota, Jaden McDaniels, was also selected to an All-Defensive team (he was on the Second Team). Plus, Anthony Edwards, another Gobert teammate, received All-Defensive team votes, although he was not named to one.

The same can be said for Smart in the 2021-22 season when he was with the Boston Celtics. That season, both Smart and center Robert Williams III were named to an All-Defensive team, and Smart was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year.

In the 2023-24 season, Adebayo was the only player on the Heat to even receive a single vote to be named to an All-Defensive team.

Even though he plays the center position, Adebayo has the athleticism to be able to switch onto players on the perimeter while also protecting the rim for the Heat. Essentially, he does whatever is needed to keep Miami amongst the league’s best defenses year in and year out.

During the 2023-24 season, Adebayo averaged 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks per game while accumulating 4.3 defensive win shares for the entire season.

Hopefully, the Heat big man will get the recognition he deserves at some point in his career and will take home a Defensive Player of the Year award.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.