In a recent interview on the J.J. Redick podcast, D’Angelo Russell talked touched on so many talented young players in the NBA. It seems this playoff showcased a few names that were somewhat flying under the radar, but it definitely shows the league is in good hands for the upcoming 10-15 years. When asked which player from that group he would build a franchise around, Russell immediately said it was Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo.
The Miami Heat are one of the most pleasant surprises so far in the playoffs, playing great and efficient basketball, with one game away from sweeping the Bucks from the playoffs. Heat showcases a real example of a team-oriented style of basketball; however, some of their players like Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, and Bam Adebayo really stood out.
Russell said that Adebayo’s versatility is one of the key reasons that sets him apart, especially on defense, where he presents a nightmare for everyone. In the series against the Bucks, he is often switched on Giannis, which proved to work quite well, and his help defense is one of the best in the NBA.
Honestly, with the way league is going, I’m going with Bam Adebayo. When you have somebody that big, that is so versatile on the defensive end, and what he brings on the offensive end, it’s the way league is going. Have you seen him guard Giannis throughout the season, and he made that matchup tough for him, so I’m going with Bam for sure.D’Angelo Russell, via J.J.Redick Podcast
Miami’s advantage against the Bucks is its versatility to switch things up, and Adebayo is a big part of that system. Russell had the opportunity to play against him several times and remembers their frustration when getting switched with him on the perimeter. On top of that, Adebayo developed a nice looking jump shot and does many things that are not even visible in the stat sheet.
The reason why I mentioned him is when we played in Miami before all this took off and we came up with the win, but the way they were switching 1 through 5 and the way he was making it tough on everybody on our team was hard, no one wants to see that. It makes it that much tougher for any guard because he is a miss-match problem on both ends. That is not something you want to see.D’Angelo Russell, via J.J.Redick Podcast
In the playoffs against the Bucks, Adebayo is averaging 13 points, 14 rebounds, and 6 assists per game. On top of that, the 23-year-old star in the making focuses a lot of his efforts to slow down Giannis. This seems to be working since Giannis is averaging way below his regular-season numbers, which ultimately reflects on Buck’s current situation, one game away from getting eliminated from the playoffs.