5 Biggest questions facing the Miami Heat for the playoff push

Plus four more of the biggest storylines to monitor over the Miami Heat's final 27 games.

Miami Heat v New York Knicks
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Will Bam Adebayo qualify for end-of-season awards?

The NBA’s new rules for players to qualify for awards will also impact Adebayo’s ability to earn a lucrative raise.

Adebayo has missed 10 games with a hip injury and played only 12 minutes in another, meaning he can only miss another six games in order to remain eligible for NBA awards and keep his hopes for a super-max extension alive.

Under these new rules, players must be on the floor for at least 20 minutes in 65 games to be eligible for awards. So Adebayo needs to play almost every game over this stretch run. He’s made it clear he intends to play whenever he can.

For the first time, All-NBA teams are positionless. The top 15 vote-getters will make the three All-NBA teams regardless of position.

This could give Adebayo a better chance since he doesn’t have to compete for just three center spots. If he’s considered a top-15 player but not a top-three center, he can now grab a spot that would have previously gone to a guard or forward. On the other hand, he’s now competing with every center, guard and forward for a spot.

The new availability requirements have eliminated or nearly eliminated Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid and Tyrese Haliburton (can only miss five more). 

Assuming health, at least 10 players are locks to make one of the All-NBA teams (in no particular order): Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Kawhi Leonard, Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum.

This leaves a pool of about a dozen players to choose from for the final five spots, including Jalen Brunson, Anthony Edwards, Domantas Sabonis, De’Aaron Fox, Anthony Davis, Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyrese Maxey, Paul George, Lauri Markkanen and Adebayo.

Only four players are averaging at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two stocks (blocks plus steals) this season. Three of them are locks: Embiid, Antetokounmpo and Jokic. The other is Adebayo.

If Adebayo misses out on an All-NBA team, he can still qualify for the super-max by winning his first Defensive Player of the Year award.

Adebayo is a multi-time finalist for Defensive Player of the Year and received one first-place vote, two second-place votes and seven third-place votes in last year’s balloting.

FanDuel has assigned Adebayo the seventh-best odds to win Defensive Player of the Year, behind Rudy Gobert, Jarrett Allen, Victor Wembanyama, Derrick White, Chet Holmgren and Anthony Davis.

If Adebayo, under contract through 2026, were to be named to an All-NBA team or win Defensive Player of the Year, he would be eligible to sign a four-year, $245 million extension this summer. If he doesn’t qualify for the super-max, he can sign a three-year, $152 million extension. That’s the average difference of more than $12 million annually.