Bam Adebayo’s incredible 2019-20 season has caught the league by storm.
In the eyes of Miami Heat president Pat Riley, Adebayo gives him memories of Heat legend Dwyane Wade.
“I’ve never met a man like this, a player, who was so respectful, had so much dignity, was such a team guy, that has grown to a point where he wants this responsibility.” Said Riley in a recent interview with Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman.
“He reminds me a lot of Dwyane, in Dwyane’s attitude. Dwyane came in, he was a no-nonsense guy. He went right to work. And he became a great player. And he had an attitude and a competitiveness and a killer instinct, besides the talent. But he had this attitude that was above and beyond.
“I think that’s what Bam is. Bam possesses this attitude about doing it the right way and doing it every day.”
The three-year pro has emerged as the Heat’s future franchise player, averaging 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game this year, earning a trip to the NBA All-Star game.
Adebayo was a huge contributor to Miami’s 41-24 record, sitting at fourth place in the Eastern Conference. His passion on the floor on an offensive and defensive level had the 22-year-old in early MVP talks and eventually a highly regarded contender for the Most Improved Player Award.
This Pat Riley reference towards Adebayo isn’t new, comparing him to fellow Heat legends Udonis Haslem, Alonzo Mourning, and Dwyane Wade earlier in the season.
“He’s the Zo. He’s the UD. He’s the Dwyane. They were standard-bearers. He is the real deal.” Said Riley.
Wade averaged 27.2 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.7 rebounds a night in his third season in the league, leading the Heat to their first NBA Championship in franchise history.
Although Adebayo has a lot left to prove before making Riley’s analogy accurate, his ability to be an all-around player is very similar to that of Wade.