Guts Check: Bam Adebayo has No Ceiling

Welcome to Guts Check by Greg Sylvander. A weekly Miami Heat column aimed at bringing readers my perspective on all the hot topics surrounding the team. You can expect a regular balance of sourced information, analysis and feeling the Heat down in my soul. In the name of Trusting the Spocess, let’s call these weekly columns position-less.

Since we last touched base:

  • Won in OT vs Atlanta 135-121
  • Lost vs the Lakers 113-110
  • Won in OT at Dallas 122-118
  • Lost At Memphis 118-111

After the emotional fatigue associated with the ESPN Heat Index of the Big 3 era, I am usually leery nowadays when the Heat get national recognition. Always equal parts grateful and guarded. I can’t help but feel a bit protective of our finally-fun-again basketball team.

Fun again being a key point I want to marinate on briefly. Yeah I know they lost last night in Memphis, but they were bound to have a short rotation and multiple overtimes catch up with them. Let’s not let one bad loss cloud our thinking. This has been FUN.

First, we marveled at the play of Kendrick Nunn for a couple weeks, then we got acquainted to the Bucket Bros, then came Duncan Robinson shooting flames, Goran Dragic carrying the team off the bench for stretches. Among all those storylines it’s amazing to consider that the leap Adebayo is taking is easily the most impactful development on the entire roster.

What Bam Adebayo is doing is impossible to ignore.

As I always say, he has no ceiling. It’s not mere hope trafficking folks, this dude is the truth. He’s a top 22 player at age 22. On his way to being top 10 or 12 eventually. He has 2 triple doubles already this season, becoming the youngest Heat player ever to accomplish that feat.

A big man getting triple double with assists. Adebayo subscribes to the “don’t talk about it, be about it” method of earning triple doubles. Not often does a player that isn’t ball dominant have the chance to become a top 10 guy. To call him a rare talent is an understatement.

The league is on notice. Evidence by his recent Eastern Conference player of the week award announced yesterday.

Adebayo is a Chris Webber, Draymond Green, Kevin Garnett hybrid. He seems to unlock a different part of his game each night and him becoming this good this fast is jaw dropping.

Of course, Bam has much to go to be mentioned with the likes of Webber and Garnett. Yet the way in which Adebayo works at his craft bodes well for his development into a player who can become as decorated as those greats. He has the chance to be that good.


At one time, Heat fans often considered Bam a player that potentially would have to be sacrificed in the move to bring a superstar to the team. Now it appears his presence on the roster may be the deciding factor in another superstar deciding to join Jimmy & co in Miami.

Oh, and just so we’re clear: Adebayo has been labeled essentially untouchable by Heat brass according to a source.

So as the trade deadline approaches, remember that any trade rumor you see that mentions his name can be dismissed as bogus fodder. I don’t think a single fan will disagree with that decision by the Heat either.

Now let’s get him to Chicago for the All-Star game so he can mingle with the league’s best all weekend and talk up the Culture.

Bam has a chance to be a superstar magnet. I don’t think it should be discounted how important it is for the Heat to have seemingly surrounded Jimmy with such a great cast. Adebayo’s ascension is the kind of happening that makes the Heat’s 2021 pitch an entirely different conversation than we initially expected.

The Heat insist they would have selected Bam even if Donovan Mitchell was available in 2017. At first, I scoffed at the notion. Now I have been left to praise.

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