The Kentucky Wildcats have produced some of the best defenders in the NBA over the past decade. Anthony Davis is the first one that comes to mind.
However, the eruption of Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo should be of note.
Adebayo doesn't have a Defensive Player of the Year trophy to his name, but that doesn’t mean he feels anyone else in the league is better on that end of the court. Adebayo is a 3-time All-Defensive Team member and should be knocking on the door of a DPOY trophy.
If you ask him, he’s already there.
“I feel like I’ve been the best defender in the last two seasons. I can guard one through five and I can guard anybody on the court. In past seasons, that’s how I got on the court. Defense is how I got to where I am today. That’s never going to be away. I’m always going to have the mindset of wanting to be in the top five on both units,” Adebayo said via NBA.com’s Mark Medina.
Adebayo has a unique skill set. He may not be the No. 1 shot blocker in the NBA, but he is averaging 1.1 steals and 0.8 blocks per game.
The more impressive part is that he can guard every position. Even a player like Rudy Gobert, who is a 3-time DPOY winner, isn’t quite as good as guarding elite offensive guards as the Heat’s star.
That said, Adebayo may not be in the running so far this season, and his numbers don’t showcase a player that is among the best on that end of the court — but, if you watch him play, the impact is certainly there.