The Miami Heat were quite close to winning the NBA championship this season, but the lack of star power and the Denver Nuggets’ impressive play cut their hopes short.
Nikola Jokic was at his best as per usual, and if one were to judge by his individual numbers alone, you could say that all the predictions about him being a matchup nightmare for Bam Adebayo were right.
However, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra still believes Bam is the best defender in the league and has been for the past couple of years, although he doesn’t get enough credit:
“He’s arguably been the best defender in the league now for a handful of years,” Spo said, according to Five Reasons Sports and NBA Central. “He doesn’t necessarily get acknowledged for that because he’s not putting up the big shot blocking numbers or whatever metrics they look at.”
“He’s arguably been the best defender in the league now for a handful of years…He doesn’t necessarily get acknowledged for that because he’s not putting up the big shot blocking numbers or whatever metrics they look at.”
– Erik Spoelstra on Bam Adebayo
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) June 15, 2023
Truth be told, Adebayo did a better job on Jokic than most big men in the league; he’s just unstoppable.
Bam has been a leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year more often than not, but his metrics aren’t as impressive as the eye test is.
He can hold his own in the perimeter, albeit to a lesser extent, and he’s an outstanding rim protector, even if he’s not averaging 2.5 blocks per game.
Bam and Jimmy Butler have anchored the Heat’s defense for four years straight, and they simply would’ve never reached the NBA Finals if it wasn’t for Adebayo’s contributions.
He’s not the flashiest player by any means, and most of his contributions won’t make it to the stat sheet, but there’s a reason why Coach Spo gave him the nod over the higher-earning Hassan Whiteside as soon as he realized what Bam was capable of doing on the defensive end of the floor.NEXT: Joy Taylor Makes Her Thoughts Clear About Jimmy Butler's Legacy