Barry Jackson

Reaction, fallout on Heat’s selection of Kentucky’s Adebayo

Bam Adebayo smiles after being selected by the Miami Heat as the 14th pick overall during the NBA basketball draft, Thurs., June 22, 2017, in New York.
Bam Adebayo smiles after being selected by the Miami Heat as the 14th pick overall during the NBA basketball draft, Thurs., June 22, 2017, in New York. AP

A half dozen notes on Bam Adebayo, the Heat’s pick at No. 14 in the NBA Draft:

• By the time Luke Kennard and Donovan Mitchell were off the board, the Heat decided to go big.

There was some support internally for UCLA’s T.J. Leaf - and Miami loved Zach Collins, who went 10th to Portland - but Adebayo gives Miami a better defender than Leaf. He blocked at least one shot in all but five games as a Kentucky freshman.

And he impressed the Heat in a June 8 workout featuring North Carolina small forward Justin Jackson, among others.

“Powerful, physical, tough,” ESPN’s Jay Bilas said. “He has really good hands. Everything he does is basically around the basket in college. He shot behind his head a little bit, but shot the ball very well in couple workouts. Very good defender who can block shots. A stud. Dwight Howard type body.”

As of this posting, there was no pre-arranged trade for Miami to deal Adebayo.

• As we noted, the Heat was concerned about Duke center Harry Giles’ knees, which put Adebayo ahead of Giles on Miami’s board.

The Heat also had Adebayo ahead of Wake Forest’s John Collins, who excelled in a Heat workout last week but – according to a Western Conference source – had a medical red flag.

• Centers Jarrett Allen (Texas) and Justin Patton (Creighton) also were considered, but Patton didn’t impress during last Sunday’s Heat workout.

• Miami passed on North Carolina’s Jackson because of concerns about his athleticism and whether he could create his own offense.

• Adebayo averaged 13.0 points and is raw offensively. He had three 20 point games – against Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri. He shot 59.9 percent and missed his only three-point attempt.

• Chad Ford’s assessment on ESPN.com:

“Ceiling: He's a freaky athlete for his size, explosive vertically and laterally. He's built like Dwight Howard. Has the ability to guard in the paint and on the perimeter. Finishes above the rim. Can be a good rebounder when he's motivated to be. Hard worker in practice. Didn't flash it at Kentucky, but scouts say he has shown a nice perimeter game in workouts.

Floor: He was unimpressive early on for Kentucky. For a player with his size, athleticism and strength he was just an average rebounder and shot-blocker. There are questions about his overall feel for the game.”

Ford, incidentally, had Adebayo rated 18th among all prospects. So Miami picked him ahead of what many projected.

• With the Heat passing on Leaf, Miami could bring back Luke Babbitt as its stretch power forward. He would carry only a $1.45 million cap hit regardless of how much Miami pays him.

• At 6-10 and 260 pounds, Adebayo could play minutes at power forward or center. He could end up replacing Willie Reed if Miami cannot afford to re-sign him.

“Nice player; not a great player,” an Eastern Conference scout said. “Not as athletic as people think. Didn’t rebound at the level I thought he was capable of. Good kid that plays hard. A good big off the bench.”

• His college coach, John Calipari, told Kentucky sports radio that teams told him they were impressed with Adebayo’s ability to shoot outside the paint.

“Right now everybody is stunned at how Bam shoots the ball,” he said. “I must have had 10 calls. Like, ‘I didn’t realize he shot the ball this way.’ But they also didn’t realize Karl Anthony Towns shot the ball that way and you also didn’t realize that Anthony shot the ball the way he does. And so you would think following this thing how we do it, they all have to share, they all have to give up something to each other to be able to do what they’re doing here.”

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