Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo on a similar path as Giannis Antetokounmpo to NBA stardom
This is how the NBA restart in Orlando has began for Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo.
In the first game, he guarded Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.
Then it was Toronto Raptors All-Star Pascal Siakam.
A day later, he showed versatility by defending Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown at times.
And Thursday he will match against reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, the player many feel Adebayo is on a similar path to NBA stardom.
"Bam is a complete basketball player," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He wants to win. He wants to impact winning on both sides of the floor. He's willing to take on any challenge. That's unique and he continues to study and get better and get more disciplined."
Adebayo is averaging career highs in points (16.3) , rebounds (10.5) and assists (5.1). He is set to become just the sixth player in NBA history to average at least 15 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block. The others are Larry Bird, Chris Webber, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Garnett and Antetokounmpo.
Spoelstra said Adebayo's defense is what sets him apart from other players.
"He should be considered as an All-Defensive player," Spoelstra said. "Whenever our defense is good, he's the anchor of it."
Added Antetokounmpo, "He plays hard. You always respect his toughness."
Adebayo is averaging 17.6 points, 9.6 rebounds and four assists since the season resumed. The Heat will need him more than ever against the Bucks because forward Jimmy Butler will miss his second straight game with ankle soreness and guard Goran Dragic (ankle) is questionable.
The Heat put their trust in him the moment they traded center Hassan Whiteside last offseason.
"I feel like I've built that with Spo through my three years being here and I'm going to continue to keep building my trust with him," Adebayo said. "He's looking at me as one of the young leaders and it's my job to produce."
FACEBOOK: Follow all of our Miami Heat coverage on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MiamiHeatSI