While talking to reporters as players resume workouts as team facilities, Bam Adebayo said that he thinks Precious Achiuwa will have a better rookie season than he did.
Bam Adebayo said he thinks Precious Achiuwa will have a better rookie season than he did because he says Achiuwa is more skilled than he was as a rookie.— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) December 4, 2020
It may be hard to remember now, but Adebayo didn’t play in nine of the Heat’s first 20 games during his rookie season, the 2017-18 year. (For comparison, Chris Silva played in all of Miami’s first 16 games his rookie season.) The Heat had given Hassan Whiteside a max contract a year before drafting Adebayo. Miami signed Kelly Olynyk to a four-year contract just a few weeks after drafting the North Carolina native.
And yet Adebayo still managed to crack the rotation his rookie season as Whiteside’s role diminished, finishing just one vote shy of making the All-Rookie Team. Could Achiuwa find a role for himself this year?
The likeliest scenario for Achiuwa playing would center on Miami’s defense. In last season’s playoffs, Erik Spoelstra moved to a switch-heavy defense. That led Meyers Leonard to become a permanent bench fixture, and even Kelly Olynyk found himself out of the rotation in the Eastern Conference Finals. Achiuwa provides defensive versatility that Leonard and Olynyk can’t give. Spoelstra may give Achiuwa minutes here and there in the regular season to see if the rookie is ready for a more prominent role in the playoffs.
The key for Achiuwa playing alongside Adebayo will be whether one of them can hit the outside shot consistently. That’s part of what Achiuwa and Tyler Herro worked on.