For the Miami Heat, to lose Bam Adebayo for any period of time is a handicap that the team can ill afford. To lose him for six weeks is a very tough blow to assimilate.
The announcement made by the team on Wednesday that confirmed that the All-Star would be out for an extended period of time seemed to have affected the team in their 111-86 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Bam suffered the injury on Monday in the Heat’s loss to the Denver Nuggets. At the time he shrugged it off not knowing the severity of it. “I’m all right,” he said about the injury after the game.
In the end, it ended up being something extremely serious that could see him miss around 25 games.
“I’m already ready for my six weeks to be over,” said Adebayo via the Sun Sentinel. “But it’s a grind. And then get back healthy and then help my team win some games.”
During his five-year career, it was quite the rarity to see Adebayo out of a game. In fact, one does recall that Bam had a streak of 158 consecutive games played. So for him to have to deal with an experience like this was quite unique.
During his time addressing his injury, Adebayo talked about how surprised he was when he was given the news of the severity of his thumb injury.
“You know, I’m not the type of person to put out negative energy,” he said. “So I was staying positive. [Wednesday] was a downer. But for the six weeks, can’t change nothing about it. That was my only option,” he added.
What To Do Now For The Heat?
When you lose a player that can match up defensively with any player on the floor it is quite a tough task to find a way to truly compensate for his absence. Prior to the injury, Adebayo averaged 18.7 points on 51.9 percent shooting, 10.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.1 steals in 18 games this season. So for Erik Spoelstra, to fill the gaps left he will have to implement lots of creative thinking alongside some increased production from players that were very limited in minutes.
The obvious choices would be to play Demond Dedmon as well as Ömer Yurtseven at center. Also it is highly likely that Udonis Haslem, at 41 years of age, will see the most significant amount of minutes that he saw in the past few seasons.
Miami could also go small for extended periods of time during a game and use someone like PJ Tucker in that rotation and his teammates are rather confident in his capabilities.
“P.J. is going to make the right play every time offensively and defensively,” Lowry said on Tucker playing at center via The Miami Herald. “But in that lineup, we got to be scrappier, we got to be a lot more tougher in those type of lineups. So if P.J. is in that position, he knows how to play the game and he knows what to do. … With him in that lineup, we know the right decisions will be made all the time.”
Bringing someone in would be a very tough thing to do mostly because of the tight salary cap space that Miami currently have without going over and having to pay a luxury tax. From fiscal standpoint, Pat Riley and company want to avoid having to pay the infamous punitive repeater tax. Miami would fall under that criteria as they paid the luxury tax in three of the previous four seasons.
Not The Only Ailment
For Miami, their star center/forward is not the only that could be missing time. The intensity up to now of the schedule took its toll on the team at this stage. Jimmy Butler missed his second consecutive game on Wednesday due to an injury he suffered on his tailbone. Butler is scheduled to return soon, but there is a chance he could miss more games in the coming three weeks as they will embark on a brutal 11-game stretch that will lead them into Christmas.
Also the Heat will have to wait on the evolution of Markieff Morris after the neck injury suffered nearly three weeks ago in Denver.
We will have to wait until Friday to see if Butler will be available to play against Indiana.