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Bam Adebayo “Disrespectfully” Snubbed for NBA Defensive Player of the Year

“Disrespectful... I can do anything those other guys can do.”

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Former Kentucky Wildcats star Bam Adebayo has become one of the best defenders in the league and is the anchor of a Miami Heat defense that ranks fourth in the NBA in defensive rating.

However, he was not even named as a finalist for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award, which he found to be “disrespectful”.

The finalists for the award were Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, Phoenix Suns guard Mikal Bridges, and Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart. It was Smart who ultimately won the award.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra was “stunned” to learn that Adebayo was not named a finalist, saying, “That’s probably the one disappointment of the year and that’s a shame. But if he just continues to do this, eventually you give people no choice but to recognize what he’s capable of doing.”

Adebayo’s defensive performance this year gave him a strong case to contend for the award, even being the favorite earlier this month. Here are just a few statistics to measure his case.

  • Adebayo switched more screens than any other NBA player with 17.5 switches per 100 possessions, resulting in just .9 points per possession where he was part of a switch, the best mark in the league.
  • In isolation situations, Adebayo managed to give up just 0.72 points per possession, which ranks third in the league.
  • Adebayo ranked second in the NBA in defensive plus-minus.

The biggest drawback and only rational reason for Adebayo’s absence from the finalist list is due to him missing 26 games, which is 10 more games than any other finalist.

Despite that, it is disrespectful for Bam not to be named a finalist.

On the bright side, Adebayo is a part of a Miami Heat team that is the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and is set to make a deep run. Not to mention at just 24 years old, Adebayo will have the opportunity to fight for the Defensive Player of the Year award again.