Miami Heat: Based On Other Late-Season Runs, Bam Adebayo Could Be Leaping
There is a core message here to take away. It’s something of a phenomenon, to be frank.
Getting better during the middle of the season, often, points to a different class of player. So, no, Bam, apparently, doesn’t have a ceiling at all.
Many NBA players get better year over year, adding a shot to the offensive portfolio here and tightening up play on a defensive rotation there. It is, altogether, something different and special for a player to make a jump during a season though.
That means a leap that runs over multiple months, proving past the flashes seen from some over several weeks. While it does not make Adebayo a lock to be the next Shaq or LeBron (I’m not getting over my skies in this economy), it is an encouraging signal based on which players have gotten hot to close out a season and thus, entering the playoffs.
For a healthy dose of perspective, here are a few names who torched teams in the closing stanza before gathering bodies in the postseason.
In the 2013-2014 season, LeBron James floated in the mid-twenties before setting out on a rampage, averaging over 30 points per game in two of the last three months of the year. It carried into the playoffs, where he averaged 30 points per game in the next two postseason series.
Kevin Durant sat pretty steadily at 24 points per contest in the 2017-2018 season before catching fire. He averaged nearly 30 every night in February and March, while his efficiency jumped, shooting in the mid-30s from three to over 53 percent from deep for a month.
He went on to help the Golden State Warriors obliterate everyone in the postseason. In his worst series, he averaged 27 per night against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Maybe the best example is the 2005-2006 Kobe Bryant season. The shooting guard went from incredible to nuclear for the season’s final months.
Bryant exploded for 43 points per game in January, dipping in February, but only before posting 34 points per game in March and then 41 per in April.
That’s devastating production—for the opposition, of course.
Again, this isn’t saying that Bam is the next Bryant or James, but it is encouraging to make strides like some of the greats did mid-season. It could also spell a huge postseason run right around the corner for the young big.