Bam Adebayo hasn’t been shy about stating his case to win Defensive Player of the Year. The two-time All-Defensive Team player did so on J.J. Redick’s podcast.
But with the regular season now officially behind us, do we already know that the Miami Heat’s 2017 first-round pick is an underdog to win the award?
We’ve seen some media figures who have votes announce their picks, and Adebayo hasn't gotten a lot of love. Some, like Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, didn’t even put Adebayo as one the three finalists for the award.
Here's how I voted for Defensive Player of the Year:— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) April 11, 2022
1. Rudy Gobert
2. Marcus Smart
3. Mikal Bridges
Ethan Skolnick of 5 Reasons Sports has said that he doesn’t expect Adebayo to finish as one of the three finalists for the award, from “talking to media people and seeing sample ballots.” (Adebayo wasn’t one of the three finalists last year, either.)
Bam won’t finish in the top 3 in DPOY race.— z — Five Reasons Sports (@5ReasonsSports) April 11, 2022
Not saying it’s right.
Just saying it’s what I’ve found in talking to media people and seeing sample ballots.
The clear mark against Adebayo for the award is missed games. He played in 56 games and clocked 1,825 minutes for the season thanks to a torn thumb ligament that required surgery early in the season. But many have pointed out that Rudy Gobert’s first Defensive Player of the Year award in 2017-18 saw him appear in 56 games and 1,816 minutes.
Adebayo’s early-season injury prevented him from All-Star consideration this year; he’s still just a one-time All-Star. It’d be a shame to see this injury rob him of another accolade.