As we move forward with our top 25 player rankings, today we analyze Bam Adebayo. A remarkably consistent and talented defender who makes a strong impact on winning. After being a key part of a surprising finals run the NBA community is beginning to fully appreciate Adebayo’s value and spot amongst the league’s best.
Top 25 NBA players 2023-24: No. 18 Bam Adebayo
Bam Adebayo: A Defensive Ace and Versatile Star:
Since entering the league Bam Adebayo has been one of the most skilled and impactful defenders in the league. Six years into his career Adebayo is undeniably one of the best defenders in the league. In fact, I would argue Bam is the best and most impactful defender in the entire league. Bam’s versatility makes him elite on defense, and Adebayo can legitimately guard any position 1 through 5. He consistently has some of the most difficult matchups in the league and can guard just about anyone. Quite frankly nobody else league-wide is asked to do more than Bam defensively.
This incredible versatility allows the Heat to successfully play a variety of defensive schemes and evaluates Miami’s defense. During their incredible playoff run, Miami’s defense was a large reason for their success and Adebayo is the one responsible for this success. Offensively, Bam is a capable interior scorer and offers the Heat a consistent 20 points a game. Furthermore, Bam is very comfortable with the ball in his hand both as a ball-handler and playmaker. Adebayo’s passing ability generates tons of offense for the Heat. Ultimately this makes Bam an incredible all-around, versatile, and valuable player.
Bam had a somewhat quiet yet undoubtedly productive regular season. After being a year removed from being the top seed the Heat fell all the way to the 8-seed last year. Regardless Adebayo’s productive season earned him a 4th all-defensive selection and 2nd all-star selection. Bam even earned one Defensive Player of The Year vote.
However, Adebayo’s season truly shined during the playoffs where his versatility and impact were on full display. Bam’s defensive versatility was a key factor in Miami’s historic finals run. During the playoffs, Miami became just the 2nd 8-seed in NBA history to make the NBA finals. Adebayo’s ability to guard several stars at different positions greatly benefited Miami and is a key reason why Bam is so valuable. Additionally, Bam stepped up as a scorer in the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals series. Including leading the Heat in scoring during the finals posting a solid 21.8 a game.
While it’s unclear how competitive the Heat will be in a top-heavy yet possibly open Eastern Conference. Of course, much of Miami’s chance of contention is pending a Damian Lillard trade, the ongoing saga that has dominated NBA headlines all summer. During the off-season, the Heat lost key role players, Max Strus, and Gabe Vincent. Their offense needs more juice if they want to be in the inner circle of contenders. As a result of Miami’s off-season a Lillard trade has become a necessity for the Heat.
Regardless of any Dame trades, Adebayo will remain one of the most important players in Miami’s season. Additionally, the Heat will likely remain in the playoff picture even if they don’t pull off a Lillard trade. If the Heat remain in the playoffs or even rise with a possible Lillard trade and manage to have top 5-10 level defense Bam could be in strong contention for Defensive Player of The Year. The bottom line is that Bam is crucial to any success Miami will have this season and going forward.
The Last Word:
At first glance, some may question Adebayo’s placement on the list and argue he should be somewhere in his 20s. It’s an understandable argument however let the playoffs serve as a reminder of Adebayo’s incredible value and importance to winning. Bam has proven his value time and time again in the playoffs. Ultimately Adebayo has developed into an incredibly experienced and high-performing playoff player. All well being one of the league’s top defenders.