Pat Riley, Miami Heat Waiting For Bam Adebayo To Reach A New Level

Michael Laughlin-USA TODAY Sports
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Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo is no longer considered a young player.

He turns 27 next month. He is entering his eighth NBA season. He isn't a kid any more, so the Heat are expecting even more this season.

"Bam has to look at his game and sit with coach, [and] how he can get better and expand his game," Heat team president Pat Riley said. "He's at a point right now, he's an All-NBA player. We're happy to have him." 

But ...

They want to see a new and improved Adebayo. Last year he was named an All-Star for the third time. His scoring dipped a little (19.3 ppg) but he averaged a career-best 10.4 rebounds. He also played 71 games, helping the Heat make up for extended absences from Tyler Herro and Jimmy Butler.

"In his growth spurt from his rookie to what he is right now has been off the chart," Riley said. "Everybody in the league knows what his game is. They all know what he does for us, how important he is for us in a lot of areas." 

It is common for superstars to branch out later in their careers. Riley pointed out a similar transition with Hall of Famer Magic Johnson for the Los Angeles After losing to the Houston Rockets in 1986 conference finals, Johnson returned with a new wrinkle by averaging a career-high 23.9 points and leading them to another championship.

"He has to expand his game," Riley said. "I remember in 1986, after we got beat by Houston, Magic came to me and said `we have to change some things. I have to change. I have to start shooting 3s."' 

Shandel Richardson is the publisher of Inside The Heat. He can be reached at

Shandel Richardson


Shandel has covered the NBA since 2010, with previous stops at The Athletic and South Florida Sun-Sentinel.  He has covered six NBA Finals, one Super Bowl, the NCAA basketball tournament. He has also been a beat writer for the Miami Hurricanes and contributed on every major beat in South Florida since 2003, including the Miami Dolphins and Miami Marlins. He can also be read in the Sportsbook Review for gambling coverage from around the NBA. A native of Bloomington, Illinois, Shandel attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He's also worked for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Kansas City Star.  TWITTER: @ShandelRich EMAIL: You can subscribe to our YouTube channel here Follow all of our Miami Heat coverage on Facebook here