Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo has long been impressed with teammate KZ Okpala's offensive game.
Now, you can add Okpala's defense to the list.
Okpala scored 24 points in the Heat's victory against the Toronto Raptors Friday in the preseason finale, but Adebayo liked what he saw defensively. After the game, he said Okpala has potential to become an Andre Iguodala type of defender.
Iguodala is a two-time All-Defensive Team selection.
“If you watch prime Iggy, active hands, always in the passing lane, always getting quick strips," Adebayo said. "I feel like if Iggy takes him under his wing and really hones on locking in on being a lockdown defender, he can be one of the best defenders in the league.”
Okpala, who is just in his second season, made an effort to improve defensively. He spent most of his rookie year playing in the G League but made the most of his time.
He said the experience in the bubble last season also helped.
“That’s one part in my game in this whole process that I think I’ve really improved on, the mental aspect of the defensive side,” Okpala said. “In college, I was solely just using my intangibles but now it’s more thinking. You can’t just roam.”
The Heat, who lost in last year's NBA Finals, open the regular season Wednesday against the Orlando Magic.
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