Bam Adebayo Has Strong Take on the Fixing of the ‘Broken’ Heat

Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat

Getty Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat

With the Miami Heat, there is always a tendency to keep the focus on what can be controlled—primarily conditioning and hard work. Get enough of that in tandem and, as NBA proponents of Heat culture will tell you, success will follow.

Unless the team just isn’t good enough. And, in a rare admission, Heat center Bam Adebayo looked back at the team last year after it was drubbed in the first round of the playoffs by Milwaukee and found that, indeed, it was just not good enough.

“We are more solution-based and trying to figure out how to get it done rather than, ‘Here is our excuses to why we can’t get it done,’” Adebayo told The Athletic in an interview published this week. “But after the season, looking back at it, you was like, ‘Nah, we were broken.’”

Indeed, the way the Heat fell to the Bucks in the postseason—in a lifeless sweep in which Milwaukee outscored them by more than 20 points per game, an average score of 118.5-98.0—exposed some serious flaws in the makeup of the team. The roster looked far too old in some spots (Trevor Ariza, Goran Dragic) and far too inexperienced in others (Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn).

Adebayo Felt Pat Riley Would Fix Heat’s Roster

But, Adebayo said, he had faith in the team’s front office, particularly the godfather of the Heat, Pat Riley. The Heat tried to be somewhat adventurous last season, attempting to trade for Kyle Lowry during the season but backing out when Toronto’s asking price got too high.

Instead, the Heat gambled on Rockets guard Victor Oladipo, who has struggled to get healthy from a torn quad injury—he hurt his knee at the same time—he suffered in 2019. But Oladipo’s knee and quad continued to be a problem and he played only four games for Miami last year.

“I always looked at it like there is a bigger plan, and I feel like that’s how Pat thinks,” Adebayo said. “He always wants the next big thing, but he also wants a bigger picture. So throughout these years, as he’s been molding our team, he got us a whole bunch of vets who have won, who have the experience of winning, who know what it takes to win, and you got a whole bunch of guys who have been to the Finals. And then you have the young fellas who are inspiring to be what they want to be in this league and trying to get back to that.”

Heat Mix Young Stars With Old

Certainly, Riley changed the mix. With the pressure of the trade deadline removed, he was able to bring Lowry (who is 35) to South Beach for a relatively small price—young forward Precious Achiuwa and vet guard Dragic. The team also added P.J. Tucker (age 36), signing him off the Bucks’ championship roster, and brought in ex-Lakers forward Markieff Morris (he’s 32), who was part of L.A.’s 2020 championship run.

Star wing Jimmy Butler is 32.

With Herro showing marked improvement, at age 21, and Adebayo continuing to grow into stardom at 24, the Heat do have one of the best young/old mixes in the NBA. Little wonder, then, that at 11-5 and with a four-game winning streak, Miami is finding a way to, “get back to that.”

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