Dwight Howard. Serge Ibaka. Kevin Garnett. According to Pat Riley? Shawn Kemp. All these are comparisons that Bam Adebayo can live up to. The Miami Heat drafted a small ball center that could thrive in today's NBA, because of his quickness and athleticism. He can come off the bench as the back up center (because we all think Willie Reed is gone), or he could start alongside Hassan Whiteside as part of the Heat’s “Death Defense” line up.
What I’m proposing is the idea to think on a grander scale. The way Riley likes to. If you bring back last season’s roster, can you beat Golden State? No. Can you beat Cleveland? In my opinion again, no. So I believe Coach Riley is thinking about how to beat those teams. Not just get a top 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Which is why I believe the selection of Adabeyo could mean the possible trade of...Hassan Whiteside. That’s right. The guy you made the face of your franchise only the year before.
I’m not saying this trade will happen, but I do believe in looking at all the possibilities. Clearing Whiteside’s space can open the door to signing free agents who can then take Miami further into the playoffs. Let’s say the Heat sign Gordon Hayward and bring back James Johnson. Is the lineup of Whiteside, Johnson, Hayward, Josh Richardson, and Goran Dragic enough? In my opinion, it makes you a top 4 seed, but not good enough.
Pat Riley has two incredible talents. Recruiting free agents, and capitalizing on disgruntled players. The latest player that is supposedly pissed off AND a Free Agent? Blake Griffin.
So let’s talk trade scenarios: If you could clear Hassan Whiteside’s salary for future picks, while making room for Blake Griffin would you pull the trigger? I believe having a lineup of Bam, Blake, Gordon, J-Rich and Dragic and the bench core of Okaro White, The Johnson Brothers, and Justise Winslow can go further when all healthy. Yes, Griffin is player with a terrible injury history, especially the last two years. But imagine what he could bring to this team and the damage that starting five could do in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Coach Riley talked about Plan A and Plan B during his draft night presser of Adabeyo. I believe Plan A is Gordon Hayward, and Plan B is bringing back Dion Waiters and James Johnson. He also made a remark of how Bam’s #13 jersey can hang in the rafters one day. Based off that comment, this organization clearly has superstar goals of Adebayo. Can he fulfill that vision? Only time will tell. I for one, think drafting a big man when you have already have a big man makes someone expendable. And if Riley has the opportunity of signing a motivated Griffin, I don’t think he shoots it down as quickly as you think he will.
At the end of the day, this is just an opinion piece about a possibility. On the surface, Bam could just be the Willie Reed replacement. But all I’m saying is considering how Riley thinks with the big picture, and depending on Bam’s potential as a big man in today’s league, this draft pick could open another door. The door that has Blake Griffin standing on the other side.