Shaquille O’Neal leaves Bam Adebayo off of his All-Star reserve ballot

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Shaquille O’Neal was the lone TNT analyst who didn’t list current Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo among the players who deserve to be reserve players in the upcoming All-Star Game next month.

The quartet making the selections only agreed on three players among Eastern Conference teams and four among the Western Conference squads. Yet, O’Neal’s omission of Adebayo is a bit puzzling.

Adebayo is currently in his sixth NBA season, all of them as a member of the Heat. He was named to the All-Star Game for the first time during the 2019-20 season but has not been tabbed since.

The numbers that Adebayo is delivering certainly seem to indicate his worthiness for selection. In 44 games, all of them in a starting capacity, Adebayo, is averaging a double-double with 21.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game while also contributing 3.0 assists, 1.1 steals and nearly one block per contest.

One potential factor that might be coloring O’Neal’s perception stems from the Heat’s struggles this season. Entering this weekend’s action, the Heat have a record of 27-22, giving them the sixth-best record in the Eastern Conference.

That mark is likely seen as a disappointment by some who were expecting more from a Heat team that reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season.

Adebayo is not one of the reasons for those struggles, considering he leads the Heat in scoring, rebounds and blocks per game. In addition, he’s in a three-way tie for third among teammates in steals per game and is fifth when it comes to assists per contest.

One key reason for the Heat’s problems has been their health. Adebayo is just one of three players to play in at least 40 of the team’s 49 games this season.

Of course, O’Neal’s opinion has little bearing on what final decisions will be made concerning All-Star rosters. In truth, the exercise only provides entertainment for the audience watching O’Neal and his fellow panelists.

Even though Adebayo remains focused on playing the game, he’s made no secret of his disdain for the voting process. Earlier this week, he indicated that some of the players being considered simply aren’t worthy of selection.

For now, Adebayo and the Heat will focus on their next game. That takes place on Friday night at home against the Orlando Magic.

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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.