The Miami Heat have easily been the surprise team of the postseason. The headlines from Orlando have deservedly so been centered around Jimmy Butler. However, it’s one former Kentucky Wildcats star that’s truly stolen the show.
Bam Adebayo has been one of just four Heat to score double figures in each Eastern Conference Semifinals game. With a team-high 26 points in their first loss of the series, Adebayo also chipped in 12 rebounds and 8 assists.
How good is the 23-year-old All-Star though?
Well, former All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell, who was recently traded to Karl-Anthony Towns’ Timberwolves, said that the young former Wildcat would be the player he’d build his team around.
“Honestly, the way the league is going, I’m gonna go Bam Adebayo. When you have somebody that big that’s versatile on the defensive end and what he brings on the offensive end, it’s just the way the league is going. So I’m going Bam, for sure,” Russell said on JJ Redick’s The Old Man & The Three podcast.
Adebayo is the center of the future. With the three-point shooting shown by teams like Houston, the traditional centers, players like Rudy Gobert and Clint Capella, may not have the same value in a few years.
A versatile offensive force that can also rebound with the bigs in the paint is the future of the center position. Adebayo is that, and even just in Game 4, he showcased why he’s the future of the five.
Eight assists for a center isn’t overly common, and he’s been doing it all season, recording 11 eight-assist games. With three triples doubles, Adebayo can it everything on the basketball court.
“He’s a mismatch problem on the other end, but then on this end you gotta go at him and that’s not what you want to see,” Russell continued.
The 6-foot-9 Adebayo had a career year with the Heat in his third season in the NBA.