3 Things Bam Adebayo Needs to Level Up his Game

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Apr 21, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) shoots the ball against San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray (5) in the third quarter at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat star Bam Adebayo is already one of the best centers in the NBA at just 23 years of age. He has significantly improved every season he’s been in the NBA, and his game has made giant leaps year after year. Bam Adebayo’s game is also one of the most complete in the league. He is incredibly athletic, can finish at an exceptional level, and is a solid passer. Additionally, Bam is an elite defender, able to guard positions 1-5. Adebayo is a shining example of how the center position has evolved throughout the years.

However, at just 23 years old, Adebayo is yet to reach his full potential. Bam has a long way to go in his career and can become a top player in the league in the future. So today, we’ll examine Adebayo and what he needs to level up his game.

More Aggressiveness

Apr 3, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) dunks during the third quarter of a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

One of Adebayo’s few flaws is that he is not too aggressive on offense. With his incredible 6’9 and 255-pound frame, he can get to the rim with ease. However, Bam sometimes plays passively on offense and sets up his teammates before looking to score.

Even with this slight issue, Adebayo is still a 19 PPG scorer and is playing at an all-star level. But if he looked to score more, his averages would undoubtedly be even higher.

Since the 2018-2019 season, the Heat have a 55.6 win % when Bam scores 20+. On the contrary, they have just a 46.3 win % when he scores 15 points or fewer. Both Adebayo and the Heat see success when he is aggressive and looking to put points on the board.

Teammate Jimmy Butler also recently commented on Adebayo’s occasional passiveness.

�I want Bam to attack the rim because nobody can stay in front of him. Nobody can stay in front of him. Go. You�re going to get fouled, or you�re going to dunk on somebody. That�s cool. I love him shooting midrange jump shots too, but he lets people off the hook. Play bully ball. I like bully ball.�

Jimmy Butler on Bam Adebayo only attempting six shots in a loss to Phoenix.

Bam’s offensive game will continue to improve as his career progresses. Additionally, he will continue to become aggressive on the offensive end as he matures as a player.

A Playmaking Point Guard in the Backcourt

Apr 3, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) reaches for an alley oop from guard Goran Dragic (7) during the second quarter of a game at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
 Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat have a solid lineup of guards in their backcourt. Kendrick Nunn, Goran Dragic, and Tyler Herro are all vital contributors to Miami this season. However, none of these players can pass the ball at an elite level.

This season, Dragic is averaging 4.5 assists, Nunn is averaging 2.7 assists, and Herro is averaging 3.4 assists per game.

Bam Adebayo would benefit significantly from a point guard that is a more prominent playmaker. He is a potent lob threat with his tremendous athleticism and would pair nicely with a playmaker in the pick-and-roll.

An example of a playmaker that could elevate Adebayo’s game is Rajon Rondo. Rondo is a terrific pure point guard who passes at a stellar level. Rondo has elevated the game of almost every elite big man he has played alongside.

For example, Kevin Garnett averaged 14.2 PPG on 50.7 FG% as a Celtic without Rajon Rondo. However, with Rondo on the floor, his averages improved to 16 PPG on 52 FG%.

Another example of a big man who has seen more success with Rondo on the floor is Anthony Davis. Without Rondo, Davis has a career average of 23.0 PPG on 51.3 FG%. However, when Rondo plays with Davis, his scoring improves to 27.6 PPG on 52.4 FG%.

If Adebayo were to play with an elite playmaker like Rondo, he would undoubtedly see a significant offensive improvement. Miami should prioritize this offseason to acquire a pass-first point guard who can compliment Adebayo’s game. Doing this will also take some of the playmaking load off Adebayo and allow him to focus on scoring more. Adding a playmaker in the backcourt would be a significant factor in helping Adebayo level up his game.

Shoot Threes More Frequently

Mar 26, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) shoots a three point shot defended by Charlotte Hornets forward P.J. Washington (25) during the second quarter at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, to level up his game, Adebayo must take more shots from the perimeter.

Centers are often less likely to shoot threes because they have not developed a jump shot. However, Adebayo is a solid shooter but doesn’t shoot threes as often as he should. In the last couple of seasons, Adebayo has added the midrange shot to his game and is even shoots a solid 46.5% from 10-16 feet this season.

Additionally, Adebayo is more than capable of shooting from downtown.

As seen in this clip, Adebayo catches the ball and effortlessly drains a three against Brooklyn. Even with Brooklyn playing good defense, he seems to have no problem knocking it down. His form is nearly perfect, and the shot looks entirely natural for him.

In the rare instance that Adebayo attempts an outside shot, he seems highly comfortable doing so.

However, the lack of threes he shoots once again points to his lack of aggressiveness. Also, as his career progresses, Bam will get more and more comfortable scoring the ball. Like how he added the mid-range shot to his game the last couple of seasons, he will likely add a three-point shot at some point in his career.

If Adebayo can consistently hit 1-2 threes a game and be more aggressive on offense, he could be an MVP candidate. Every other aspect of his game is phenomenal. He is averaging over five assists per game and playing DPOY-level defense. It all comes down to how he improves offensively in the years to come.

In conclusion, Bam Adebayo is a star in the making. However, to become a truly elite player in this league, both Adebayo and the Heat organization need to make some changes. Overall, Bam’s NBA future looks to be very promising.

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