When the Miami Heat drafted PF/C Bam Adebayo it was clear he would likely be their only draft pick for two seasons. Drafted at a position of need he is Miami’s attempt to replace the gaping hole left with Chris Bosh’s retirement. While Bam may never live up to the future Hall-of-Famer’s status, he is beginning to show the makings of a high-level modern center in the NBA. Granted his recent showing at point guard, in summer league no less, is not exactly unprecedented or altogether unexpected. However his progress cannot be denied and his flashes are becoming more consistent, even if against mostly non-NBA talent.

Improved Handle

One of the exciting, but underappreciated faucets of Adebayo’s game is his handle. As mentioned in his draft report, Bam has spent more hours than most 6’10” giants working on his handle from the perimeter. While he certainly isn’t at the level of Anthony Davis, he is slowly showing he has the capacity to navigate fastbreaks and semi-transition with regularity. Even more encouraging is that some of his rim attacks are coming from against a set defense.

The above is perhaps his smoothest drive to date as he easily cuts through the heart of the defense, puts on a great crossover for a player his size, but ultimately misses the layup. If he can begin to convert those in the pros he will give opposing coaches nightmares.

Developing Jumper:

Though it was known that Bam had more to his game than just his rim-rocking dunks, no one is expecting him to become a deadly jump shooter. Instead, the hope has been that, with time, the jumper could develop into a useful bail-out shot from the free throw line extended. Last season he shot a paltry 32% from between three and 16ft. In order to compete against the likes of the Rockets and the Warriors, he is going to have to be much more effective at least in the midrange.

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Here Bam catches the inbound on the wing, takes one dribble and nails the jumper. This shot alone would add five to eight points to his average and give the Heat a valuable pressure release when their offense gets stagnant.

Better Touch:

Last season Bam often found himself in semi-transition or on the move with the ball and had no idea how to finish. This led to a slightly lower number of finishes at the rim for him and more blown lay-ups than his athleticism should allow. To get his solid but not stellar rim shooting percentage up he is going to have to make shots like the below:

Here, he takes the contact and finishes over the top of Jordan Bell to score and draw the foul in the process. He shows excellent control and touch on his way to a three-point play. If he can turn this play and the other skills the Heat have him working on, into consistent weapons the Heat may have found a 10-year starter in their frontcourt.

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