Miami Heat Giving Bam Adebayo Much Awaited Front-Court Flexibility
Miami Heat Giving Bam Adebayo Much Awaited Front-Court Flexibility
May 22, 2024 10:25 PM

In the NBA, it’s always about finding ways to maximize your team’s young and talented centerpiece. For the Miami Heat, that is Bam Adebayo, and they may have finally found a way to build a specific front-court that enhances his skills.

It should be mentioned that there’s a reason long-term front-court fits are discussed whenever there’s trade possibilities in the off-season. One of the main ways to give Adebayo additional comfort is to give him consistency at the power forward or center position.

But since there weren’t any on the market, they went in another direction, which may be even more fitting in a short term sense.

There’s a certain theme with the guys that have lined up next to Adebayo over the years, and it’s not just about him playing the 4 or the 5. A year ago, he had major success next to a drop big in Meyers Leonard, before transitioning back to the 5 with Jae Crowder slotting into the starting lineup for playoff time.

Fast forward a year to this past season, there was a short period of time with a Moe Harkless trial, leading to the Kelly Olynyk insertion with some sprinkled in starts for Andre Iguodala, before eventually acquiring Trevor Ariza at the deadline.

The point that has been made in the past about Adebayo just needing to be put at the 4 for the team to have success isn’t really a fair statement. It’s not about his position, it’s just consistency.

And looking at that 2 year stretch of players lined up next to him, it’s obvious there was nothing consistent about that. Heading into the 2021-2022 season, none of those guys are on the roster, meaning it’s adjustment time for Adebayo once again.

But this time, in a good way.

PJ Tucker will most likely get the start to begin the year, and although he’s 36 years old, he’s been pretty available over the course of his career. Markieff Morris fits the build of players that fit well next to Adebayo as well, being a floor spacer in the corner who can also occupy space above the break, while bringing true defensive physicality.

Looking down the roster a bit more with two back-up bigs I touched on in my last piece, Dewayne Dedmon and Omer Yurtseven aren’t just Adebayo fillers. It took coach Erik Spoelstra quite some time to reach a certain confidence level with Dedmon-Adebayo minutes, and they weren’t half bad for stretches in that playoff series.

The key element there is that the other three players on the court must be deep threats, meaning no Jimmy Butler in those minutes. Other than that combination, there won’t be shooting questions in the front-court like the past.

Iguodala may have been great down the stretch in many games, and came up big in the bubble, but offensive production always seemed to plummet whenever he shared the floor with Adebayo especially. In the places Adebayo likes to operate, the defender in the corner guarding Iguodala would just help down, basically daring him to kick it out.

It’s just not ideal to manipulate certain lineups when role players don’t fit with the stars.

Omer Yurtseven, on the other hand, will get his shot at some point, and spacing issues won’t be in question. He can screen well, be utilized as a roller/popper, and is versatile enough to be plugged in different spots.



That is four different players that can be combined with Adebayo in a positive fashion, which is just as good as gaining a young and reliable four. Much like Spoelstra, Adebayo needs fitting weapons around him so there isn’t a constant adjustment period.

And although I highlighted four possible pairings next to him, there’s still one more: Jimmy Butler.

We won’t ever see him playing the four in a regular season game, but if the match-up is right in the post-season, I believe we could see it frequently. It just depends on the health of Victor Oladipo.

When Spo wants to throw all of his weapons on the table in that environment, a lineup of Lowry-Dipo-Robinson-Butler-Adebayo will definitely be a possibility. And although that’s a non-shooting front-court, we already know the effectiveness of those two on the floor together.

The Heat built around Butler in a sense to add his good friend and win-now guys with championship experience, but don’t let that distract you from what they’re opening up for Adebayo.

The flexibility has officially been found, and once he gets enough reps with them in the regular season, we won’t be seeing certain combinations for the first time in a playoff series down 0-3. It’ll already be tested out much sooner, and a rhythm will be formed.

And Adebayo in a rhythm can be a scary sight.

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