Bam Adebayo’s Brutal Reality Check and How He’s Learning From It

Adebayo Bam

Last season’s Finals served as a massive reality check for Bam Adebayo, as the Heat were defeated by the Nuggets, but Bam is using the experience as fuel to get better.

The Miami big man had a run of injuries last postseason after battling a sore hamstring and then a right shoulder injury during the Finals series, as he went up against two-time league MVP Nikola Jokic.

Plenty of his teammates were also struggling to get healthy – Gabe Vincent, Cody Zeller, Tyler Herro, Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler, yet Denver were virtually full strength throughout the series.

“That’s what really hit home when that buzzer went off,” Adebayo told ESPN.  “When you get to the Finals, those are the two things that matter: who’s going make the least amount of mistakes and who’s going to be the team that’s less injured. I was like, ‘Damn, a lot of stuff is factored into why we lost.'”

Drawing on his experiences from last season, Bam is looking to out-perform himself in 2023-24.

“I’m looking at my stat line and being like, ‘How can I be better?'” Adebayo said. “Instead of averaging 20 [points per game], how do I average 23? Instead of averaging nine rebounds, how do I average 11? Instead of averaging three assists, how do I average five? Instead of averaging 0.8 blocks, how do I average 1.4?

“And you start calculating that. You start really honing in on preparation … how many times you go to the gym, how many times you work on consistency. And then it goes to taking care of your body while you’re beating yourself up in the summer, trying to obviously put more weight on, getting stronger.”

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Miami are known underdogs and they may never lose that tag, but Adebayo wants a different kind of tag for himself personally.

“That’s what I want everybody in the league to respect about my game at this point,” Adebayo said. “Where they say: ‘We just got to hope he misses.’ And that’s what you work for.”

The center is averaging 22 points, 10.4 rebounds and four assists on 50.6 percent shooting from the field as the Heat sit at fourth seed in the East.

But of course, plenty of doubters are already writing them off.

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