The Miami Heat got exactly what they needed in the 2017 NBA Draft. After the team drafted Bam Adebayo out of Kentucky with the 14th pick, there were a lot of fans and experts second-guessing the team for the pick. Adebayo is proving early on that he doesn't deserve that. It is about time for both Heat fans and NBA experts to give Adebayo the respect he has earned through his solid Summer League play.
In 30.8 minutes per game in the Summer League, Adebayo averaged 17.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. His success didn't just come on the offensive end as Adebayo averaged 2.3 blocks and 1 steal per game. The rookie is showing early on that he could be a terrific big man in support of (or even alongside) Hassan Whiteside.
ESPN Insider came out with a piece following the Summer League with their best and worst Summer League performers. Adebayo respesented the Heat as an honorable mention.
Andrew Sharp of SI.com gave Adebayo some high praise following his Summer League performance. He and the rest of the SI NBA staff made a list of the most intriguing players in the Summer League and Adebayo received some praise.
In the Orlando summer league, Bam was as impressive as anyone on the floor. He put up 17.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks. He's continued to impress in Vegas, where he's putting up 15.7 and 8.7 rebounds. More important than the numbers is the way he moves. He's got nifty skills around the rim—more than he ever showed at Kentucky—and he's got skills in space that caught me off guard. There were multiple times where he grabbed a rebound and led a fast break—and it looked completely normal. He moves fluidly at 6'10", 250 pounds, and that helps in the halfcourt, too. Couple that with rim protection that was always going to be valuable, not to mention the ability to stick with guards on pick-and-rolls, and each time I've watched the Heat I've come away convinced that Bam will get 20 minutes per game for Miami next year.
Following the Summer League, NBA.com came out with their KIA Rookie Ladder and Adebayo came in at No. 8 on the list. He was as high as No. 2 on the list for a good amount of the Summer League but due to others performances, he fell to finish eighth.
Going from second to eighth is more about the rarest of late charges from the rest of the field (multiple triple-doubles, stringing together double-doubles) than an Adebayo stumble. Shooting 35.2 percent in four games in Orlando was the negative, before he bumped that to 43.3 in three outings in Las Vegas. Otherwise, he contributed 17.5 points and 8.3 rebounds in 30.8 minutes in the first session and 15.7 points and 8.7 rebounds in 29 minutes after the Heat shifted to UNLV.
Adebayo has showed experts around the NBA why the Heat were so high on him in in the first round of the NBA Draft. He will look to carry his success into the preseason and regular season.