Erik Spoelstra Sends Strong Message About Poor Bam Adebayo Performance

Erik Spoelstra and Bam Adebayo

Getty Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat celebrates a play with head coach Erik Spoelstra during the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder

The NBA is officially back, and the Miami Heat played their first game against the Chicago Bulls. Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, and Max Strus all had strong performances scoring over 20 points, but the Heat came away with a home loss to the Bulls. Despite the strong performances from Butler Herro, and Strus, the rest of the Heat largely struggled. Especially Bam Adebayo. 

Adebayo scored 12 points in the game but was 5-15 shooting on the night. Another noteworthy stat for Adebayo is that he only shot three free throws in the game. He was challenged to be more aggressive offensively this season, and despite putting up 15 shots, he wasn’t aggressive enough to go to the charity stripe. One player that was aggressive was Jimmy Butler, who went 14-16 from the free throw line. However, it wasn’t enough, and the Heat lost at home. 

Erik Spoelstra on Bam Adebayo’s Poor Performance

After the game, Erik Spoelstra spoke to the media, and one of the topics up for conversation was about the poor play of Adebayo, their All-Star big man. 

“That’s an anomaly,” Spoelstra said of Adebayo missing so many quality scoring opportunities. “He was missing point-blank shots. What that could have possibly done is give us more of a cushion in the first half.”

Spoelstra was sure to note that they were good shots from Adebayo, which also should be encouraging for Heat fans. He did get good shots. He noted that had they gone in that it could have helped their first half lead. 

Adebayo’s comments following the game noted that they were shots he makes every day but missed by just inches.  

“It’s a game of inches. I missed shots that I make everyday in practice, everyday in shootaround, and they were off by inches,” Adebayo said

It’s the first game of the season, a little bit of rust is to be expected, but it was important that he got good shots, and that can be encouraging for the Heat’s offense moving forward. If Adebayo is able to contribute offensively, and Herro shines in the starting lineup as he did tonight, it could be dangerous for opposing teams. Especially if Max Strus can put up numbers like he did tonight and play with the confidence, he did in game one. 

Jimmy Butler’s Challenge to Bam Adebayo Offensively

On Media Day, Heat star Jimmy Butler spoke out about the team’s challenge to Adebayo to be more aggressive offensively this season. 

“We know he knows we want him to score more; we want him to be aggressive. He can do it, and he’s going to — He always is and always will be the engine, the key part on both ends of the floor. So we’re going where Bam takes us,” Butler said

That’s high praise for Adebayo but also high pressure. This team will move with him and how he contributes offensively. His defense is solid and something you can count on night in and night out, but what will he bring nightly on the court on the offensive end? 

Bam Adebayo on his Offensive Goals This Season

Answering the question of how he will contribute offensively, he shared that he will be putting up more shots, specifically with a goal to increase from 15 per game to 18. 

“I’m going to try to get it up this year,” said Adebayo. “I feel like we’re a lot better team when I’m scoring the basketball.”

Adebayo’s total tonight was only 15 shots, he didn’t meet his goal in game one, and neither did the Heat coming away with the loss.