The Miami Heat were in an absolute battle with the Brooklyn Nets in Saturday night’s matchup, but fell short in a disappointing loss. Bam Adebayo was clearly the story of the night, but it’s much more than just a one night explosion. It’s mostly about what is to come in his game moving forward. Either way, here are five takeaways from the game….
#1: Bam Adebayo comes out aggressive early, showcasing his year to year growth.
It feels like everyone of these takeaway pieces as of late include advanced aggression in Bam Adebayo’s game. But instead of harping on his offensive initiative early, including a buzzer beating three before halftime, it’s necessary to look at these performances in the big picture. When Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro return, it’s when it’ll be much more intriguing to evaluate his offensive game. Bam has done more than enough for this team over this long stretch, and it’s very promising to see him improving game-by-game. It’s not just about the length of shots increasing more and more. It’s more about the confidence that he’s taking these shots day-by-day.
#2: Shot attempts and turnovers not problematic early for Miami, but shot makes were.
The usual issues with this Heat team that are discussed are headlined by turnovers and lack of shot attempts, which go hand in hand. But those weren’t the true downfalls for this Heat team tonight. Instead, shot makes was the area that Miami was lacking, since the role players continued to struggle with three point shooting. This is another positive aspect for Bam Adebayo, since shooting elevates his abilities tremendously. And on these poor shooting nights, he continues to shine. There’s nothing really schematic to discuss when referring to lack of shot makes, especially when two of the primary contributors are out. Some players have struggled in their elevated roles throughout this unique stretch of games, while the hope is everything comes together with a healthy roster.
#3: The Kendrick Nunn ups and downs.
Kendrick Nunn needs to be noticed in tonight’s game as well, even after being discussed the last few games. For one, the first thing that has been in question with Kendrick is consistency, so getting a look at his game over a stretch of games is important. There’s no way to tell if this type of play is sustainable for a long time, but he clearly has the capability of making an impact on this current team. His role will change when Tyler Herro and Jimmy Butler return, but that will only benefit him as a player. His scoring is the primary part of his game, but the other areas of his game continue to be showcased. A tighter handle, quicker decision making, better defensive possessions. Those are the areas that lock up a spot in the rotation, so it’ll be interesting to see how he responds moving forward.
#4: KZ Okpala gets some minutes and has positive flashes.
After a Moe Harkless injury in the first half that caused him being out for the remainder of the game, KZ Okpala started the second half. He showed a bunch of positive flashes on the defensive end, one being an incredible block as he dropped down low. He can showcase those types of things, as well as his one-on-one defensive abilities, but the only downfall seems to be a certain level of understanding and decision making on defense. And that’s expected with the amount of floor time he has gotten in his career, and the only way for it to improve is floor time. He also can impact offensively when needed, which he looks very comfortable with the corner three. If he can polish up his offensive game with the ball in his hands, he will have a much bigger opportunity.
#5: Big picture evaluations must be looked upon.
Looking at things big picture is necessary in the current situation Miami is enduring, and that doesn’t mean creating excuses. It’s just being realistic. For one, as discussed previously, Bam Adebayo is making more than a simple leap. He’s becoming the player that he’s very capable of being. The reason big picture comes into play is because he’s doing this without Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro. If he can sustain this into that stretch when the roster is fully healthy, it elevates the team tremendously. Duncan Robinson is another player to look into full picture since he went from being one of the priorities on opposing scouting reports, to basically becoming the actual number one player on the scouting report. Teams won’t be able to fulfill that total elimination when Miami’s guys return.