Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo Bothered By Lack Of Defensive Recognition?

Miami Heat All-Star Bam Adebayo is widely regarded as one of the NBA’s best defenders, but lacks the main piece of hardware to back up the claim.

The Defensive Player of the Year award has yet to land in Adebayo’s hands despite numerous finishes near the top of the voting. There’s no denying box score stats tend to play a larger role in the winner than impact off the stat sheet, which frustrates the 26-year-old big man.

“That’s one thing that irks me, it’s not my fault I’m versatile,” Adebayo told Yahoo Sports. “I’ve been top five in DPOY voting the last five years, there’s been guys y’all (media) been giving it to over me. A point guard (Marcus Smart) got it over me, a center (Rudy Gobert) got it over me, a power forward (Jaren Jackson Jr.) has gotten it over me. The goalposts move for me, in certain degrees. It’s me and a lot of undrafted dudes, and we still have a top-five defense.”

If Adebayo was frustrated with the likes of Gobert and Smart earning the award over him partially due to counting stats, his window may already be closed. San Antonio Spurs generational talent Victor Wembanyama finished No. 2 in last year’s voting as a rookie while averaging more than three blocks. Not only does Wembanyama have the statistics to take over the DPOY voting, but also the in-game influence at 7-foot-4.

Adebayo will continue hunting the league’s most cherished defensive award, but it’s impossible to ignore his ability to anchor the Heat’s defense every season.

Anthony Pasciolla works as a contributing writer to Inside the Heat. He can be reached at [email protected] or follow him on X @AnthonyPasci.

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