Former Kentucky Wildcats star Bam Adebayo has become one of the best defensemen in the league and is the anchor of a Miami Heat defense that ranks fourth in the NBA in defensive rating .
However, he wasn’t even named a finalist for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award, which he deemed “disrespectful.”
Bam Adebayo says he didn’t know he wasn’t a DPOY finalist until he spoke to the media after practice. His answer :
“Disrespectful…I can do anything these other guys can do.”
Goes on citing the lack of national game shows as the reason. pic.twitter.com/E8wzs3MrqD
—Wes Goldberg (@wcgoldberg) April 18, 2022
The finalists for the award were Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, Phoenix Suns guard Mikal Bridges and Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart. It was Smart who ultimately won the award.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra was “stunned” to learn Adebayo hadn’t been named a finalist, saying: “That’s probably the only disappointment of the year and that’s a shame. But if he just keeps doing that, you’re ultimately giving people no choice but to acknowledge what he’s capable of.
Adebayo’s defensive performances this year gave him a solid case to win the award, even being the favorite at the start of the month. Here are some statistics to measure his case.
- Adebayo switched more screens than any other player in the NBA with 17.5 switches per 100 possessions, which yielded just 0.9 points per possession when part of a switch, the highest rating in the league.
- In isolation situations, Adebayo only managed to give up 0.72 points per possession, which ranks third in the league.
- Adebayo ranked second in the NBA in plus-minus defense.
The biggest downside and the only rational reason for Adebayo’s absence from the shortlist is that he missed 26 games, which is 10 games more than any other finalist.
Despite this, it is disrespectful for Bam not to be named a finalist.
On the bright side, Adebayo is part of a Miami Heat team that is the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and is poised to make a deep run. Not to mention that at just 24 years old, Adebayo will once again have the opportunity to challenge for the Defensive Player of the Year award.