Bam Adebayo, the guardian of the temple in South Beach

Bam Adebayo, the guardian of the temple in South Beach

Absent between the end of November and mid-January, Bam Adebayo missed a good twenty games and this could cost him dearly during the awards period which will inexorably dawn on him with the playoffs on the horizon.

Yet at 19 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists on average, the pivot of the Heat does not spare his mount, he who is already in his fifth NBA season. It’s very simple: since the adventure of the Heat until the final in the Bubble, Adebayo has not really had a vacation.

“In the playoffs, the ranking no longer matters”

“I don’t like to miss games”, he explains in the Lowe Post. “But I chained 82 games, the shortened season, the Olympics, and my body made me understand that I had to take a break. »

His Heat didn’t fare too badly in his absence. As proof, their first place assured at the top of the East, synonymous with home advantage until the conference final.

With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s Nets still battling to qualify via play-in, Adebayo can speak for all of his teammates when he says he fears no team in the first round. No question of an “upset” for the head of the list.

“No, we don’t care. In the playoffs, the ranking no longer matters to me. We have seen teams that finished sixth and lost in the second round, fifth that managed to go to the finals, it has already been seen. And I speak from personal experience. We just have to play our game and be at our best level. This is where we really have to rely on our collective culture. »

Praised for its harshness and rigor, the culture of the Heat has been a great classic of NBA folklore since the 1990s and the arrival at the helm of Pat Riley, from the Knicks of the Ewing, Oakley and Mason era. But Adebayo still attests to its current veracity.

“I think we can focus even more [pour les playoffs]. All the guys, from first to fifteenth, we all want to win, that’s our ultimate goal. It’s everyone’s mentality, and it means they’re all willing to make sacrifices. It’s one of those things that makes everything easier and bonding inside the locker room. Everyone is on the same wavelength. »

“A team that finishes first in the East [avec] a workforce of 50% made up of undrafted players, that should make the headlines! »

To add fuel to the Florida fire, the Heat recently made headlines with a frank argument in full time out between Jimmy Butler, a regular, but also Erik Spoelstra, more surprising, and Udonis Haslem arriving to his rescue. Speaking as a peacemaker, Adebayo confirms that it is not uncommon in South Beach to rise in temperature like this.

“It happens to us all the time in training. When we are between the lines of the field, we play hard. We have a bunch of undrafted players who want to make their mark, who play for their careers and for their families. It’s a real fight. There’s no more teammates or anything, it’s just my team against your team. That’s all that matters. And in this context, it happens that it goes up a notch in what some can say to others. Our workouts can get really hot too! We had a few fights in training, and that’s normal. We are brothers but we will not always agree, it happens. We all want to win and sometimes it overflows. Coach also wants to win at all costs and he bumps into us, he sometimes insults us and puts us back in place. For me, it’s because we all want to win that much. I remember D-Wade had a run-in with GP too [Gary Payton]. Because there is this standard of requirement, to win. »

Well aware of the history of his lifelong franchise, Adebayo is also aware that his team is not the sexiest in the championship, while the old grumblers Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler are slowly gaining momentum and the Heat wins mostly on defense.

Author of the victory dunk to bring down the Hawks, a possible opponent in the first round of the playoffs, Adebayo embodies the quiet strength of his Heat team, which is increasing in intensity with the playoffs, like their current series of six victories of rank. Better, Adebayo is 16 games in a row (a career record) with more than 50% shooting success.

“Nobody likes to be underestimated, but it makes us want to be even more excited. We play traditional and classic basketball; we are not really considered but that does not bother us more than that. In my opinion, the media doesn’t want to talk about undrafted players until they really get to be productive and successful. It’s a bit the same logic with our team, where there is no high draft choice [dans le top 5]. I don’t even think we have any in the top 10 [en fait, il y en a un,Victor Oladipo, mais qui n’a que très peu joué, pour sa défense, ndlr]…Closest are Tyler [Herro] and me. Over 50% of our guys are undrafted guys, players who are still learning how to make it in the NBA. It could be an interesting headline for once, to say that a team that finishes first in the East has a roster of 50% made up of undrafted players. But we don’t talk about it. »

“I started playing in the NBA thanks to my defense”

Similarly, Adebayo only moderately appreciates his low profile when it comes to the best defender trophy. If his statistics in the field do not necessarily dream, with 1 against and 1 interception on average only, Adebayo sheds light on other arguments. Equally, if not more, still legitimate according to him.

“I want to win this trophy, it’s really something close to my heart. I think I did the right thing by helping the team win and helping them get into the top 5 best defenses. For me, it shows that you meet the selection criteria: you are first in the East and you are in the 5 best defenses in the League. Even top 3.”

Backbone of the Heat’s defense, the pivot passed by Kentucky does not think he is sufficiently considered for his defensive prowess. Especially since it’s really his business, which allowed him to earn his stripes as an NBA player, and ultimately, All-Star and Olympic champion (just that)…

“I started playing in the NBA thanks to my defense. It’s because I’m able to change on the screens, that I’m athletic, that I can defend in all positions that I started to have playing time. After a while of realizing that you can compete with the best scorers, the best shooters, the best attackers in the world, you tell yourself that you can be the best defender of the year. At first, I was just thinking about the best five defensively, but with the confidence growing, I think I can be DPOY. I want to achieve the unthinkable, like being able to defend the pick & roll, be both in defense on the lob pass but also on the counter at the level of the circle. You don’t see that every day. Spo lets me do that and I admit it, sometimes I go out of systems in defense and follow my instincts. I have this freedom also from Spo. He made me progress a lot. Not only in defense, in attack too. We have great trust in each other. He knows that in most situations, I will make the right choice. »

Bam Adebayo Percentage Bounces
Season Team GM Minimum Shots 3 points LF Off Def Early pd party Int bp CT Points
2017-18 MIA 69 20 51.2 0.0 72.1 1.7 3.8 5.5 1.5 2.0 0.5 1.0 0.6 6.9
2018-19 MIA 82 23 57.6 20.0 73.5 2.0 5.3 7.3 2.2 2.5 0.9 1.5 0.8 8.9
2019-20 MIA 72 34 55.7 14.3 69.1 2.4 7.8 10.2 5.1 2.5 1.1 2.8 1.3 15.9
2020-21 MIA 64 34 57.0 25.0 79.9 2.2 6.7 9.0 5.4 2.3 1.2 2.6 1.0 18.7
2021-22 MIA 55 33 55.7 0.0 75.2 2.5 7.7 10.2 3.4 3.1 1.4 2.7 0.8 19.0
Total 342 28 55.8 14.0 74.1 2.2 6.2 8.3 3.5 2.5 1.0 2.1 0.9 13.4

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