Bam Adebayo 2017-18 Season Rundown
Photo Credit: Oscar Baldizon
Even though Bam Adebayo grabbed a lot of people’s attention during Summer League, it was hard to imagine a 20-year-old rookie doing the same so early for the HEAT during the regular season.
But he did.
With Hassan Whiteside in and out of the lineup due to injury, Adebayo capitalized on some extended playing time and performed very well in December and February.
While most people will remember his powerful dunks this past season, the former Kentucky Wildcat showed he can bring much more to the table. In addition to being able to run screen handoffs effectively, Adebayo also had a penchant for hanging with wing players on the perimeter on the defensive end. And when you delve deeper into the numbers, it all starts to become clear.
Not only did Adebayo tally a 102.1 defensive rating (tied for the best on the team with Justise Winslow among regular rotation players), but he also held his assignment to 10.0 percentage points less than their usual field goal percentage inside of 10 feet during the regular season.
Yup, that’s pretty impressive.
Let’s get into some of Adebayo’s best games of the year.
Nov. 28 vs. Cleveland: Recording A Career High
Simply put, Adebayo did a little bit of everything in this game against the Cavaliers. He threw down some dunks, hit a few jumpers and came through with a nifty behind-the-back pass to JJ.
All that said, his most impressive sequence came late in the second quarter when he initially stopped LeBron James from attacking the basket, stayed flatfooted on his pump-fake and ultimately forced the vet to shoot an airball.
What discipline for a rookie.
In all, Adebayo scored a career-high 19 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting to go along with six boards, two assists, one block and a plus-13 rating.
Dec. 3 vs. Golden State: Doing All The Little Things
Adebayo’s numbers won’t jump off the page when looking at this game on the surface, but the film tells an entirely different story.
From a bone-crunching screen on Draymond Green to a remarkable defensive sequence against Steph Curry, Adebayo displayed what made him such an intriguing prospect.
The young man finished the night with nine points on 3-of-5 shooting and two rebounds in 20 minutes of action.
Dec. 22 vs. Dallas: Keeping It Moving
At this point in the season, Miami was firing on all cylinders thanks in part to Adebayo’s emergence. In this matchup, Adebayo kept the ball moving with screen handoffs and also showed nice touch around the basket.
Of course, there was a great defensive sequence on Dirk Nowitzki sprinkled in for good measure, too.
When it was all said and done, Adebayo tallied 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, eight rebounds, five assists and a career-high plus-28 rating.
Jan. 9 vs. Toronto: Dominating The Fourth
While this one is remembered for Wayne Ellington’s game-winning layup, let’s not forget Adebayo’s monster performance in the fourth quarter. Things were going so well for the big fella that the HEAT actually ran the offense through him early in the period, and he responded with a team-high eight points on 4-of-6 shooting in the fourth.
On the flip side of the ball, Adebayo was just as impactful with five blocks on the night. Yes, five.
In total, the 6-foot-10 specimen amassed 16 points on 8-of-14 shooting, 15 rebounds (five offensive), three assists and a plus-nine rating to go along with his career-high five blocks.
Feb. 2 vs. Philadelphia: Never Backing Down
If nothing else, this game showed that Adebayo fully understands the HEAT culture.
Despite being down by double-digits entering the fourth, both he and Winslow kept at it and led the charge on a 30-7 run in the period. In fact, Adebayo racked up 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting and three assists in the fourth.
In other words, he did all he could to try and win the game.
Adebayo ended up with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting, 13 rebounds (five offensive) and a career-high six assists.