Miami Heat star Bam Adebayo calls Defensive Player of the Year ‘disrespectful’
MIAMI — Hours after the Miami Heat opened their postseason series with a commanding 115-91 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, the NBA announced the finalists for the 2021-22 regular season awards.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has been named one of the top three candidates for Coach of the Year. Tyler Herro was one of the top three candidates for Sixth Man of the Year. The Defensive Player of the Year pool, however, did not include Miami big man Bam Adebayo.
“I’m really stunned that Bam isn’t a finalist,” Spoelstra said after Monday’s practice. “I don’t know what people are watching. And he’s played in enough games, so I don’t want that to be an excuse either.”
Adebayo played 56 games with the Heat, which had the league’s fourth-best defensive rating. He was edged out by Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics, who played 71 games for the No. 1-ranked defense; Mikal Bridges of the Phoenix Suns, who played 82 games for the No. 3-ranked defense; and Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, who played 66 games for the No. 10-ranked defense.
The Heat’s big handyman believes the vote wasn’t skewed by overall availability, but by the number of times the top contenders’ games garnered national attention.
“Disrespectful,” Adebayo said Monday when asked about the finalists announcement. “I feel like I can do anything two of the three can do. Also, I mean, I can’t teach pitch. But all three of them play on TV more than me. So I “I would expect that. They get more TV games and they get more exposure. People like to talk about it more. Nobody wants to talk about us. So that’s bullshit at that point.”
Heading into the season, the Suns had scheduled 34 nationally televised games. The Celtics had 32, the Jazz had 26 and the Heat had 22.
“I feel like that’s why a lot of guys get a lot of awards, in my opinion,” Adebayo continued. “They’re always on TV showing off their talent and they happen to have some good games.”
The inclusion of Herro and Spoelstra in the awards announcement is contradictory evidence for Adebayo’s claim. The fact that Miami went 17-9 in the games it missed would also suggest that the Heat’s team defense was a major factor in Adebayo’s success there.
But Adebayo’s main point of contention was the national television program.
“The frustration is that we don’t get as many game shows as they do,” he said. “That’s the only thing that’s frustrating because I feel like if I had as many game shows as them, it wouldn’t be that I’d be out of finalists and this, that and third.”
Spoelstra said Adebayo’s impact jumps off the screen for anyone who manages to log on.
“Watch any of our matches,” Spoelstra said. “You have a defensive system that’s built around his toughness and his versatility. And that’s not a cliché, it’s not just a thing that you throw out there that he can literally keep from 1 to 5. You can count on a hand in his association of 450 how many guys you can legitimately say can compete on the ball 1 to 5 in all five positions.And he’s right at the top of that list. unique in itself.
Herro is fine with people who spend more time talking about other series like the Boston Celtics vs. Brooklyn Nets than what’s hot in South Beach.
“We don’t really want any attention,” Herro said. “You can keep the focus on the other teams from the East. They have to come through here anyway, so we’ll see what happens.”
Miami, the No. 1 seed in the East, will look to build a 2-0 lead over the No. 8 Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.