Bam Adebayo has become a terrific defender in the NBA in the past couple of seasons. He's a very agile big that can put up against great offensive players and won't run away from the challenge. He's a special talent that can impact the game on both ends of the ball, but there's no doubt that his favorite task is on defense.
The Miami Heat start has been a DPOY candidate for the past couple of seasons, and even though he's yet to win this award, Adebayo knows it's a matter of time before he gets it.
He's still young and only gets better. If he records another impressive season on defense, he could dethrone Marcus Smart and become the Defensive Player of the Year in 2023. That's a big goal of his, and Adebayo took it personally when he lost.
Bam Adebayo Seemingly Throws Shade At Marcus Smart While Explaining He Can Guard The 5 Positions
During a recent conversation with Couper Moorhead of NBA.com at the Miami Heat training camp in the Bahamas, Adebayo was asked about the DPOY award and how big of a deal it is for him. Bam admits that it's become pretty important for him, as he's been known as a defensive player since he entered the association.
Why does Defensive Player of the Year seem to matter to you so much?
Just because I came into the league as a defensive guy. That’s how I got onto the court. That’s how I made my name. It started with that first clip of me defending Steph [Curry] and it just took off from there. To the point where Spo would put me on the primary scorer – one game he would say, ‘We’re playing Houston, you’re starting on Russell [Westbrook]’. Next game in L.A. he’d put me on Kawhi Leonard or PG [Paul George]. It was just building that trust to where I could, in my mind, be Defensive Player of the Year. In my mind, I’ve proved that.
Bam also talked about the 2022 DPOY and how people voted for Marcus Smart, saying that most guards don't have the same responsibilities as others. Big men that can guard against 1 through 5 are not common in the league, and Bam believes they should get more recognition. He even threw some shade at Marcus Smart, who bagged the coveted award last season.
The argument last year [when Marcus Smart won the award] was that giving it to a guard meant giving it to someone who actually guarded all positions. So you could certainly say the argument for the guy who eventually won it applied the same to you?
I feel like I’m damn near the only guy. Me, and I give Draymond [Green] and probably Giannis, three guys who can literally guard 1-through-5 and be effective. Switch on to a Kyrie. Switch onto KD. Switch onto Joel Embiid. The thing about guards winning it is they don’t be down there. They don’t be in that semi-circle.
Bam is somebody who has gotten better every season. He can be a terrific two-way player, but his main focus right now is on defense. He knows what he's capable of and recognizes that only a couple of players can do what he does on the court. Awarding Marcus Smart last season was met with criticism by some players, and it seems like Bam isn't over that just yet.