Miami Heat big man Bam Adebayo seems to be a more polished offensive player this season, and Heat fans might have team legend Dwyane Wade partly to thank.
Inside the paint, Adebayo tends to take his time before finally shooting the ball. That’s something he recently admitted Wade helped him with years ago.
“Man, I actually got it from D-Wade, which is funny,” said Adebayo. “When I was on the team with D-Wade, I would always rush. And D-Wade pulled me to the side one day and was like, ‘Let the defense make the mistake. Slow down, be patient.’
“And literally it was just like a wake-up call for me.
By scoring 20 points against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night, Adebayo tied his career-high of six consecutive games with at least 20 points.
It appears as though he’s finally turned the corner Heat fans have desperately been hoping for. The former first-round pick is averaging 22.7 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game this season while knocking down 52.6 percent of his shots from the field.
His efficiency is a bit down, but it’s a trade-off that most people within the organization are likely comfortable with. Adebayo is taking the most shots per game of his career this season at 15.9.
Something interesting to note about Adebayo this season is that he’s been expanding his range, as 37.1 percent of his shots have come from 10 to 16 feet. That would set a new career-high in that area, with his previous high being 26.0 percent last season.
His increased aggressiveness is seeing him take 7.3 free throws per game, a considerable increase from the 5.4 per game he shot last season. He ranks 10th in the league in attempts per game from the stripe.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has always expressed tons of confidence in Adebayo, and that’s something that has helped the two-time All-Star flourish.
“Pinking my spots,” Adebayo said. “If I can be aggressive, obviously Coach is trusting me to put the ball in the basket. So when you have that ultimate confidence from your coach, sky’s the limit for you.
Adebayo’s offensive improvement is a welcome sight for the Heat and their fans, especially since his defense hasn’t really taken a hit. He’s earned four All-Defensive honors in his career and seems primed to make it five this season.
During the Heat’s seven-game win streak, Adebayo is averaging 23.0 points, 11.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.1 blocks per game on 53.1 percent shooting from the field.
He’ll want to keep up those types of numbers when the team takes on the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.