Miami Heat: Bam Adebayo quickly evolving into a legitimate superstar

Named an All-Star for the first time last season, Bam Adebayo is rapidly evolving into a legitimate superstar for the Miami Heat.

In the era of position-less basketball, Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo is quickly carving out his own special niche.

After two seasons of biding his time in a reserve role, Adebayo’s transformation last season as the starting center for the Heat was one of the more impressive accomplishments of the season. And to top it off, Adebayo’s exceptional postseason run in which the Heat fell just two wins short of capturing their fourth NBA title further enhanced his reputation.

But in the opening 10 games of the 2020-21 season, Adebayo has taken things to another level. In 31.3 minutes per game, the 23-year-old Adebayo is averaging 19.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.0 steals per game. To put this in perspective, the following are the only players in NBA history who’ve recorded these numbers for an entire season, per Stathead:

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • Larry Bird
  • Kevin Garnett
  • Chris Webber
  • DeMarcus Cousins
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo

As impressive as these numbers, it’s been his overall efficiency at the offensive end that’s been the most notable advancement in his game. Through the early going this season, Adebayo has shot 64.5 per from the field and 85.1 percent from the free throw line. To put these numbers in even further perspective, only Bird has shot better from the line, while the next closest field goal percentage is Antetokounmpo at 57.8 percent.

In his latest performance, Adebayo registered 28 points, 11 rebounds, five assists two steals and a block as the Heat came away 113-107 over the Detroit Pistons, having dropped their previous three outings. With Jimmy Butler still sidelined to due to health and safety protocols, Tyler Herro sidelined again with a neck injury, Adebayo recorded a career-high 35.1 percent usage rate. In doing so, Adebayo joined LeBron James as the only players in NBA history to have posted the aforementioned numbers on 15 or fewer field goal attempts, per Stathead.

Following the Pistons win, Heat head coach Erik Spoesltra detailed Adebayo’s mindset entering the game:

“He was angry after our last game, and that is 1000 percent what you want your best players, what you want them to embody, that type of competitive spirit….he produced tonight. I thought it was really key was his ability to get to the free throw line, rebounding, he had that big stop going down the stretch, and at the end of the clock he was able to create some offense when we didnt have anything else.”

Clearly, Spoelstra’s summary is indicative of the type of impact that Adebayo is having on a game-to-game basis. That is, influencing the game in a variety of ways, and simply doing whatever it takes to get the team over the line.

Looking ahead, the Heat now face a mini road trip, first playing a pair of games against the Toronto Raptors, and then the same against the Brooklyn Nets. So with a 5-7 record and the potential return of some vital personnel, the Miami Heat can rest assured that Bam Adebayo will be bringing his all to the floor, and in the process, demonstrating that he is a legitimate superstar in the making.