Respect Adebayo Defensively
Adebayo has made the All-Defensive team four times in his six-year career. He’s finished in the top five in Defensive Player of the Year voting in each of those seasons. But it still doesn’t seem like his game is truly appreciated on that side of the floor. He’s not a top-three favorite to win the award this upcoming season, per various sportsbooks. What more does he have to do?
Adebayo’s box-score stats don’t jump off the page. He’s not a big-time shot blocker but that doesn’t stop him from altering shots at the rim. Adebayo is a master at pre-rotating and beating offensive players to the spot. He’s a defensive quarterback out there calling out sets and blowing up plays. He may be the league’s most versatile defender.
His ability to switch one through five and hold his own in any matchup is vital in the postseason. He cannot be exposed in the pick-and-roll against quick guards because he has the footspeed to keep up. You can throw him on some of the top wings in the sport and he will come away with key stops. He competes and outworks most of the big men in the league. These skills don’t show up on the stat sheet but do in defensive ratings.
The Heat have been a top-10 defense since Adebayo became the full-time starter in 2019. He’s had some stellar defenders around him like Jimmy Butler, PJ Tucker and others, but Adebayo is the anchor. Everything is funneled to him and Miami depends on his versatility.
At 26 years old, Adebayo is becoming everything Heat fans could desire. An aggressive scorer that still looks to get others involved, and a versatile defensive big that impacts the game with hustle plays. Adebayo is a one-of-a-kind center and his reputation is growing. He will eventually win Defensive Player of the Year (and it will be a long time coming) and, as his game grows, he will continue to ascend to the top of anyone’s list of the league’s best big men. There aren’t many centers better than Bam.