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One number reveals the possibilities of Bam Adebayo for the Heat

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The night belonged to Dwyane Wade, but Adebayo helped win the game from the free throw line.

The return of Dwyane Wade ushers in an era of “thinking man’s basketball” for the Miami Heat: a NBA version of the underdog Philadelphia Eagles surviving three win-or-go home games to capture the first-ever Superbowl for the city of brotherly love.

For Bam Adebayo, capitalizing on his ability to draw fouls in the paint and execute quality handoffs for Miami’s sharpshooters could be part of a winning strategy, as he works on getting better during his rookie season.

In the Milwaukee Bucks victory, Adebayo had more free throw attempts and makes than the rest of his teammates combined: Bam 9-10 FT; others 8-8. Those 9 points from the charity stripe were crucial in a six point Miami win.

Whenever Bam gets the ball in the painted area, he’s a threat for a 3-point play the old-fashioned way. In his case the drive and kick scenario from last season hinders working paint for points. Mixing up the looks Miami gives defenses keeps them honest.

His other talent lies in setting up the 3-point shooters with well-excuted screens and hand offs. The quality looks at the basket by 3-point threats such as Wayne Ellington, Luke Babbitt, Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson comes partly from Bam’s knack for giving them the ball in a perfect spot.

An Ellington shotchart shows he thrives where there’s room for handoffs.

At 20 years old Adebayo isn’t close to a finished product offensively such as LaMarcus Aldridge. Bam does bring one James Harden-like talent to the team: an ability to draw shooting fouls. Those points can make the difference in clutch games.

Zach Lowe on Adebayo:

In one 15-second sequence last night, Bam Adebayo: 1) Straight-up just caught a shot out of the air instead of blocking it; 2) Led a fast-break the other way; 3) stayed in front of Eric Bledsoe on the ensuing Bucks possession.

Speaking of high-IQ basketball, the master, Dwyane Wade, showed how a team can maximize the talent on its roster. If Wade is Flash, then Tyler Johnson is Sparky.

With the help of Dwyane’s keen eye for cutting teammates, Tyler broke out of his scoring doldrums. In the tweet below, the last basket on a beautiful pass by Wade showcased what Sparky does best: great cuts and leaps at the rim.

TJ led all scorers in the 1st half with 14 points!

They caught the Bucks defense ball-watching for a rim-rocking dunk by Tyler. As the commentators noted, Wade’s court vision breaks down defenses.

At this stage of his life Wade may not be the complete package he once was, but then Bam, Tyler and each Heat player has their flaws. On the flip side, they have unfair advantages against teams in other areas of their play. The puzzle lies figuring out the best tactics to use for each player in a game.

The return of future Hall of Famer signals a smarter, team-first game for Miami. The principles from a classic book, “Think And Grow Rich,” are just as relevant in today’s NBA, as in, “Think And Win Championships.”