ASK IRA: Is it time for Bam Adebayo to step up for Heat?

·3 min read

Q: I don’t think we can beat the Celtics if our second-best player, Bam Adebayo, can’t give us a double-double, 18 to 20 points and at least 10 rebounds, the rest of the series. I admire greatly the job that Gabe Vincent and Max Strus have done. They have done their part and we can’t expect stellar performances from them every night. I do expect a level of consistency from our stars. Jimmy Butler is on an island by himself offensively. Bam has shown a disturbing lack of aggression at this stage of his career and on the big stage. He often gets deep in the paint only to pass out to spot-up shooters. He has to finish at the rim and demand they help his defender, which will give our shooters better looks. This is not just a one game reaction; it’s a disturbing pattern. – Robert, Weston.

A: Agreed, even though in this space I continually have stressed that go-to scorer, or even high-volume shooter, is not who Bam Adebayo is and what Bam Adebayo is. But at moments of truth (and it appears we are at such a moment), your max players or near-max players have to play to their pay grade. It’s one thing to be so fully occupied with a Joel Embiid on one end that your focus has to be elsewhere. But the Celtics do not present such a singular challenge. But remember, even the last time the teams met in the playoffs, it was Bam’s block of Jayson Tatum that stood as his most memorable play. It is that end of the court where he still places his priority. At the moment, that might be somewhat misguided.

Q: Ira, Have the playoffs shown that although Tyler Herro is a decent player, he is not someone who can carry a team to victory? He doesn’t seem close to matching all of the hype and publicity he gets. He is instead showing to be a support or role player at a time when Miami needs more from him. – Rich, Plantation.

A: To Tyler Herro’s credit, he has done enough over the course of his career to make himself a focus of opposing defenses, which has been the case both against the 76ers and Celtics. So the respect certainly is there. But this question also dovetails with the question above, considering the contract extension received by Bam Adebayo. Can the Heat afford to do that twice? And it is a legitimate question, considering Tyler is up for an extension this offseason.

Q: The Heat are a very athletic team. Why not go straight-up man on defense as opposed to constant trapping? Stay home on the Celtics’ players. Don’t give them open 3-point shots. – Stuart.

A: Which is fine, as long as you’re fine with a constant series of Max Strus getting set up defensively for isolations against Jayson Tatum. And, from there, other Celtics getting their one-on-ones against the defense of Tyler Herro, and, now, perhaps even Duncan Robinson.