Miami wants Bam Adebayo to pay big. When he does, the Heat usually wins


Bam Adebayo He is determined to earn as much money as possible during his gaming career to take care of his family. And even though he’s always been a first baseman, he knows that in the NBA, the biggest controls go to the scorers.

Fortunately for him, the Miami Heat He also wants to score his defensive ace – a lot.

Team president Pat Riley asked his big man last summer to start firing at least 15 shots a game.

This year, I went to [season] I will shoot at this rate and I will live like this,” Adebayo told FOX Sports. “This has helped the team. It has helped me. It has helped us win games.”

When Adebayo scored 25 or more during the regular season this year, the Heat was 12-4. He has increased his scoring average and field goal attempts each season of his career, reaching 20.4 points on 14.9 attempts per game this year.

In this postseason, Adebayo averaged 14.1 tries per game and helped Miami defeat the top seed Milwaukee Bucks In the first round. Then Monday night, he had 23 points on 10-for-17 shooting and 13 rebounds He led his team to a 3-1 series lead Over the New York Knicks In the semi-finals of the Eastern Conference.

[Heat dominating Knicks using coaching, superstar advantage]

Playing Adebayo in Game 3 is a great example of the way he changes the game for his team. Download Knicks All Stars Julius Randel He fell to just 10 points on 4-for-15, while finishing with 17 points and 12 rebounds in the 105-86 win.

“He was all over the place on both ends of the field,” Heat coach Eric Spoelstra told reporters after the game. “The base line probably doesn’t do justice to any impact.”

Adebayo’s growth in the NBA has been exponential.

Adebayo has gone from being a grinder to perennial defensive contender of the year (he’s the only player in the NBA to score at least one first-place vote for this award each year for the past four years). From a blue-collar player to a two-time All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist. From an unproven entity to signing a five-year contract worth up to $195 million. And now he’s focused on taking his game to the next level – becoming an offensive weapon.

When the Heat selected him 14th overall in the 2017 draft KentuckyThe organization knew they were getting someone with incredible raw talent and athleticism.

But everyone was amazed at how hard he worked. During his rookie season, Spoelstra said they called Adebayo “Roofless” because they quickly realized his potential was limitless due to his work ethic.

Adebayo has been working with adults. Then he trains with the guards. Then the wings. He was indefatigable.

He went from averaging 6.9 points his rookie season to averaging 8.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 2018-19, to averaging 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists the following season.

In 2020, its value has skyrocketed. He was named an All-Star, helped the Heat reach the NBA Finals in the bubble, made the first of his three consecutive defensive teams — and then earned a max rookie contract extension in November.

For Adebayo, who was raised in a trailer by a single mother, Marilyn Blount, his goal has always been to give her the best life possible. Blount worked long hours as a cashier at Acre Station Meat Farm in Pinetown, NC, to support them.

“The first thing I got was her home,” Adebayo said of signing the extension. “My mom never had a home of her own.”

Although Adebayo has fulfilled his dream of dramatically changing his mother’s circumstances, he continues to work as hard as ever. Going into the season, Adebayo’s challenge was clear: He needed to become a bigger offensive threat.

During the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals against Boston, there were two games when Adebayo scored just six points and attempted six shots. Then there was Game 3, when he finished with 31 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals.

This is what led to Riley challenging him to release more.

During the summer, Adebayo trained three times a day, with his first practice starting at 5:30 in the morning, and he would fire over 500 rounds.

“The reason he starts his training so early in the morning is because he gets to spend time with his mom in the afternoons,” said his coach, Ronnie Taylor. “At 2:30, he usually goes to his mom’s and hangs out with her.”

For Taylor, the goal was to help a tenacious defender who punched his ticket to the NBA with the energy and determination to become offensive. Or, in his words, he wanted Adebayo to become more “selfish”. If that happens, he believes Adebayo is unstoppable.

“He’s faster than most of the guys who have to guard him,” Taylor said of the 6-foot-9, 255-pound center. “It’s either too slow or too small.”

He was again named an All-Star in February and finished in the top five in Defensive Player of the Year voting for the fourth year in a row.

Adebayo, who has shot 54 percent from the field this season, would love to be encouraged to shoot more — it was a liberating go-ahead after being red-lighted while at Kentucky from 2016-17.

“When you look at my stats, analytically, I shoot a high percentage,” said Adebayo. “You can’t tell me not to shoot this shot. If you see someone making 1,000 intermediates [midrange shots] Every day they get into the game and make 10 of them, you’re not going to tell them, “Stop shooting.” It’s one of those things where the defense has to guard you.”

However, being aggressive on the offensive end doesn’t necessarily come naturally to him.

In January, while sitting next to the visitors locker at the Arena, he bounced when a reporter pointed out that the Heat were 7-0 when they scored 28 or more points in a game. He didn’t want to get pissed off. The reporter laughed, saying they don’t believe in these things.

“Yes, but I do,” Adebayo said.

Adebayo realizes that the more offensive threat he becomes, the easier it is to do things for his superstar teammate Jimmy Butler – and the more dangerous his team becomes.

Fan of Jimmy Butler, Heat or disappointed by Giannis & Bucks?

But while he remains the team’s center back, he sometimes struggles to be consistent on the other end. In the playoffs this year, he’s down to 14.1 field goal attempts per game (including tournament play), despite Tyler Hero He suffered a broken hand in Game 1 against the Bucks.

In a Game 2 loss to the Knicks, which Butler missed due to a sprained right ankle, Adebayo took just 10 shots, finishing with just 15 points. On a night when his team needed him to be the star, he was fourth top scorer.

“I played terribly,” Adebayo told reporters. “I put this on me.”

For Adebayo, it’s a learning curve. The only thing Heat knows about him is that he can achieve anything he desires because of the work he does.

“You’re accumulating this year after year after year, it just keeps getting better on the scale, the big leaps,” Spoelstra said. “People really overestimate what you can accomplish in a day. They grossly underestimate what you can achieve in a matter of weeks, months, or years. Bam is the epitome of this kind of constant late gratification and improvement.”

As for the 25-year-old Adebayo, he has just entered his prime. And his leadership is as strong as ever.

“He just doesn’t want to be a good player in the NBA,” Taylor said. “He wants to be great.”

As his team looks to make another deep playoff run, Adebayo will try to be a driver on both ends of the field.

After all, his motivation is always ahead of him. His mother, who watches every one of his games, is the reason he has become a two-way star.

“I intended to get into the league [on] Adebayo said: I make much less money than I make now. “You get into it and then you realize, ‘No, I can make more in the league.'” That was the trigger.

“Obviously, I want to take care of my mom as best I can.”

Melissa Rohlin is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. She has previously covered the league for Sports Illustrated, Los Angeles Times, Bay Area News Group, and San Antonio Express-News. Follow her on Twitter @Melissarohlen.

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