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The misuse of Bam Adebayo hides his true potential contributions for the Heat

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Bam Adebayo has different game than Hassan Whiteside, which Miami hasn’t put in its game plan yet.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Bam Adebayo notched his first win as a starter in Miami Heat's win over the Charlotte Hornets. Yet during the game the Heat passers threw up lobs to Adebayo imagining he had the reach and strength of Hassan Whiteside to out-muscle his defenders. Huge mistake. Bam's skill set differs from Hassan's, and team hasn't adapted to maximize Adebayo's unique abilities to their fullest.

First and foremost, Adebayo brings speed and quickness, while Whiteside has extraordinary size and strength. They're not clones, and Miami has yet to take advantage of that fact. The Heat aren't using Adebayo's speed running the floor.

A note on the scouting video: those are mostly teenagers of very limited talent that Bam is competing against. In the NBA he faces bigger, stronger and older players, which also makes them potentially slower. His advantage at age 20 is sheer speed, because the older guys are smarter, but not as fast as in their younger days.

Whiteside usually trails his teammates on fast breaks: Adebayo can actually lead fast breaks. Over decades of Heat history that facet of the game, where a center ran the floor, was seldom a major part of Miami's playbook. From Alonzo Mourning to Shaquille O’Neal to Udonis Haslem to Chris Bosh to Whiteside, Miami never had a five with the speed of Adebayo to zoom down the court. There was one NBA center who also was a world-class sprinter: Bill Russell.

So far Miami has employed Bam in the paint as Whiteside light, but with quickness and agility as his calling card. However fully exploiting Adebayo's sprinting abilities would bring another dimension to Miami's games, one which other teams aren’t prepared for.

Besides Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow, Wayne Ellington and Tyler Johnson excel in running fast-breaks. Those four along with Bam, would surprise opponents with their speed. Sprinting can quickly tire out the players, that's why the Golden State Warriors use their small-ball five squad sparingly. LeBron James admits jump shooting like Stephen Curry isn't his game, and James has done pretty well attacking the rim or dishing out assists. Jump shots aren’t the only path to the NBA Finals.

Although Whiteside and Adebayo are listed as centers, their strengths and weaknesses vary tremendously. The Heat's games plan doesn't include a center who can outrun other players down the court. Once Adebayo breaks out of the shackles of basically doing only post-ups and lobs, Miami can really be dangerous this season. Other teams aren't prepared for the possibilities of a 6'10", 255 lbs center who can run the floor like Bam.