It probably started with Bam Adebayo chuckling on the inside, then it spilled onto social media. He couldn’t contain the laughter after the Miami Heat star saw his name omitted for NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
That’s right. Adebayo won’t be in the conversation for the league’s premier defensive award. The list of finalists includes Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers), Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz), Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors). It’s a solid three-man race but Green’s seat at the table kind of came out of the blue. Adebayo finished the season ranked third in the Defensive Player Ladder. He thought he deserved a better fate and gave a priceless one-word response.
Why was he dissed so hard? Well, it sounds like it came down to money. The 23-year-old center would have been owed a $16 million pay raise on the five-year extension he signed for winning DPOY. He was ninth-best in defensive rating (108.3) and sixth-best in defensive real-plus minutes (3.78).
Then there’s the eye test. Adebayo often switches in the Heat’s aggressive defensive scheme and takes on the best player on the other team, including smaller guys like Kyrie Irving. Gobert doesn’t do that. Simmons does. There is also an overall lack of respect for a guy who hasn’t played long enough to build a strong reputation. Not yet.
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Heat Throw Shade at NBA on Twitter
The Miami Heat used their official Twitter handle to throw shade at the NBA over the Adebayo snub, too. They posted a GIF of their star player looking around the arena after a game — up, down, back, around … just looking for some support from someone. Heat Nation hit the comment section hard to defend his honor, too.
Several fans brought up the fact that he had been snubbed from this year’s All-Star team and missed out on last year’s Most Improved Player award. It kind of proves Adebayo’s point about not being on people’s radars.
“It’s one of those things where you got to watch us play to figure it out,” Adebayo said on May 4. “You know, I float under the radar because I’m not a big name in this NBA, but show my work … it’s uh, somebody will look at me like he’s the Defensive Player of the Year, and here are the reasons why. That’s the bottom line, and I feel like I am.”
Jimmy Butler Declares Himself Good to Go
Jimmy Butler sat out the last two games of the regular season with back tightness. There was no way the five-time All-Star was missing the playoffs but it was still reassuring to hear the words come out of his confident mouth following Thursday’s practice. Butler will be on the court for Saturday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. “Stupidly locked in.” Book it.
“That’s why he’s here. He’s here for these moments. He’s here for this time of year. He’s here for big games,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said of Butler. “And it just gives you great confidence when you know that he can make a play and a lot of these plays are unscripted.”
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