Emotions have simmered (maybe) from the Eastern Conference Finals, thoughts have been gathered and now it’s time to evaluate some players!
Amid us deep-diving into the draft and everything regarding the future of the organization, let’s discuss the seasons for Heat players that played in the 2021-22 NBA season who finished on the active roster — regardless of their impending status entering 2022-23.
Today, we will be reviewing Bam Adebayo, the Heat’s second-best player! Let’s jump into it!
Season overview (56 games):
- 19.1 PPG
- 10.1 RPG
- 3.4 APG
- 1.4 APG
- 55.7 field-goal percentage
- 75.3 free-throw percentage
- 60.8 true-shooting percentage
- 21.8 player efficiency rating
Every year of his career, Adebayo’s improved his scoring total. This year was no different, posting a career-high in scoring with marginally lower efficiency. He also recorded career-high in steals (1.4 spg) and totaled his second-highest rebounding total.
His efficiency dipped in each area inside the arc with similar frequency. He also missed 27 games, ruining his case for defensive player of the year. In fact, Adebayo earned second-team All-Defense for the third straight season — tallying the highest award point total (by far) compared to the other second-team honorees. He was unquestionably one of the best two-way centers in the Association yet again, hoping to build off of what was a successful — yet semi injury-plagued — 2021-22 campaign.
Feb. 26 v. San Antonio Spurs
Adebayo perhaps his most aggressive game of the season against the San Antonio Spurs on Feb. 26, when he finished with a season-high 36 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks. He made 14 of his 21 shot attempts and went 8-of-12 from the free-throw line en-route to the 133-129 victory. He scored 26 of his 36 points in the second half, including 16 in the final frame on 7-of-9 shooting.
Considering what he did in the month of Feb. leading up to that performance, I wrote about how he took a leap with his aggressiveness. That ended not being as true as I initially thought, perhaps jinxing him; you can
laugh at me read it here.
Numbers to note:
3.4 - This season was Adebayo’s lowest assist total since averaging 2.2 in 2018-19. It was indicative of an actual playmaking drop-off, it’s just the burden wasn’t on Adebayo to generate offense for others as much with Kyle Lowry fitting the equation. His presence allowed Adebayo to focus more on scoring than he did a season ago, even though his shot attempts and scoring only had marginal increases.
22.0 - I mention Adebayo’s remarkable February — capped by his dominant 36-point outing against the Spurs. How good was he, you ask? He averaged 22.0 points on 51.6 percent shooting, including 10.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. It’s rather unrealistic to see him produce that over an extended sample anytime soon, but he’s absolutely capable of it when his number is called.
82.1 - For the 116 people who defended at least 50 isolation possessions, Adebayo sported the 9th-most frequency in isolation situations. He finished in the 82.1 percentile, up from the 72.7 percentile ranking a season ago. He held opponents to 32.9 percent shooting with a 35.3 effective-field goal percentage — No. 13 and No. 10 in the league, respectively.
Never say never, but there’s less than a one percent chance that Adebayo gets moved over the summer. If you’re an avid Heat fan active on the social medias, you might scroll and see some fans might believe (or want) otherwise. But the truth is, Adebayo is the Heat’s most valuable asset; even Pat Riley said that multiple Heat players should give him half their check in his postseason press conference.
So yes, he’ll be in a Heat uniform next season barring something completely unforeseen. The soon-to-be 25-year-old is entering the second year of a five-year, $163 million max — he’s set to make $30.4 million in 2022-23.
Again, the public’s primary talking point will be his aggressiveness, or lack thereof. For the second consecutive postseason, Adebayo, for the most part, wasn’t as aggressive as one would’ve liked after arguably being the team’s top defender. He wields a special blend of length, athleticism and pure instincts on the defensive side of the ball, but oftentimes doesn’t employ all of those tools at once offensively against mismatches.
Adebayo’s 15.0 field goal attempts per 75 possessions — a top-85 mark amongst qualified players — this season were greater than his 13.9 mark a season ago and his 12.4 total in 2019-20. Progress! Yet there’s still untapped potential there. Riley said he will talk to Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra about trying to generate more attempts for Adebayo this offseason, but it will ultimately come down to his mentality on a possession-by-possession basis. He’s capable, but not consistent.