The Miami Heat looked poised to get back to the NBA Finals for the first time since their appearance in the 20220 bubble. But despite a few heroic efforts from Jimmy Butler, they fell just short in a home Game 7 to the Boston Celtics.
While the Heat could ultimately be one player away from being a far better contender, they have the ability to improve internally, and one of those ways is helping get center Bam Adebayo to the next level.
Adebayo had a wacky last few appearances, scoring 25 in Game 7 and also having performances of 6, 18, 9, and 31 over the Heat’s final five playoff games. They needed more from him in a few games.
However, Adebayo has a strong standard of growth so far in his NBA career.
The former Kentucky Wildcats star has gone from 6.9 to 8.9 to 15.9 to 18.7 to 19.1 points per game since entering the league. He’s also one of the best defenders in the NBA, which oftentimes helps the Erik Spoelstra-led Heat defend teams that thrive off switching on a big incapable of defending guards.
What’s next for Adebayo though? Here’s what the Heat’s president, Pat Riley, thinks is in store for the star center.
“He has been asked to do a lot of things as a young player, and he has grown efficient. He is always getting somebody open. Duncan, Tyler should pay him half his check,” Riley said of Adebayo via the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.
“This could be a year — and Spo and I will talk about it — where how can Bam be developed in a way to improve his consistent shot ability every night — getting 15 shots every night, quality shots that he can get and create. He can be very prolific at times.
“But it can’t always be effort, on running, on lob dunks, on little floaters. There is another level we need more consistency to create good shots [with our help] and score.”
Riley generally hits on what was wrong with Adebayo’s final few games this season. The inconsistency, despite his high ceiling, is still there. He’s good and has the potential to be great but must produce on a more consistent basis.
Adebayo’s 19.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game weren’t enough to garner a second All-Star appearance. That should be a goal of his next season as well. He’s also a three-time All-Defensive team member.
At just 24 years old, he has yet to reach his ceiling, and Riley will hope he can get closer to that this coming season.