The 24-year-old has a chip on his shoulder after the Heat got swept by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs, and his No. 1 goal this summer was to get bigger and better for the 2021-22 NBA season. So, he got into the weight room and added 15 pounds of muscle.
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“That’s our job,” Adebayo said, per Miami Herald‘s Anthony Chiang. “That’s our job to be better than we were before and that’s what we’re all doing. I feel like we’re all getting better at something and it’s because of that chip. Everybody on this team has a lot to prove this year, so everybody’s got a lot of stuff on the line.”
The Kentucky alum made a personal goal to get absolutely jacked this summer, noting how he went from 245 pounds to 260 pounds. His bigger physique was on display in photos posted by the Heat’s official Instagram page on Thursday.
“Last year, I couldn’t lift as much as I could because I had my shoulder injury from the Finals,” Adebayo explained. “So I was thinner up top than I should’ve been. That comes with recovery.”
“Since we had such a short offseason and went straight into last season, I could only do so much,” he continued. “But this offseason, I’ve really been in the weight room and made a conscious effort to get my body back to where it was.”
Adebayo Believes the Added Muscle Will Help Him on Both Defense and Offense
While Adebayo mentions that he spent time working on his threes, his main focus was to become just an overall better player. He says that the added muscle will help him on both sides of the court.
“I mean defensively, I do what I do,” Adebayo said. “Defense is all effort to me. If I really don’t want you to score, I’ll try my hardest to make sure you don’t score.”
“That’s how I feel whenever I step on the court and I’m playing defense. My goal is to make sure you don’t score. But on the offensive end, just being able to get by dudes, really use my strength to power through certain fouls and get certain and-ones. Then finishing, of course.”
There are High Expectations for Adebayo to Have a Breakout Season
Adebayo’s $163 million contract extension kicks in when the 2021 NBA starts, and there are high expectations for the versatile center to finally show why he’s got the bag. On September 22, Sports Illustrated ranked the Top 100 NBA Players, ranking Adebayo at No. 22, two spots lower than his spot last season.
SI reporter Rohan Nadkarni wrote:
No ceiling. That’s how Erik Spoelstra likes to describe Adebayo, who is arguably the most versatile and effective defensive big man in the NBA. Adebayo’s absurd defensive skills alone make him top-25 worthy. When you add in his growing offensive repertoire as both an initiator and scorer, he becomes someone that every single coach in the league covets. If Bam develops into a more confident and consistent scorer, he will take another leap up this list
Last season, Adebayo shot a career-high 18.7 points and 5.4 assists per game. During the playoffs, his performance level took a dip, averaging 15.5 points and 4.3 assists per game.