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Bam Adebayo plays down pressure of becoming Heat’s undisputed starting center

Bam Adebayo, Heat

Bam Adebayo is ready to step up as the Miami Heat’s first-choice center.

The Heat parted ways with starting center Hassan Whiteside this offseason in the Jimmy Butler four-team sign-and-trade. With the move, Abedayo was elevated to the starting position — a role which he played in only 28 games last season.

While there is certainly tons of pressure as he is now tasked to anchor the Heat frontcourt, Adebayo is not one bit nervous. In fact, he is embracing the role and sees it as an opportunity.

“I wouldn’t consider it pressure,” Adebayo told Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I would more consider it an opportunity, a big opportunity for that matter.”

Whiteside started in 53 games for the Heat last season, averaging a double-double of 12.3 points and 11.3 rebounds to go along with 1.9 blocks in 23 minutes per contest. On the other hand, Adebayo put up 8.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists while playing the same minutes as Whiteside.

Adebayo figures to be an important piece for the Heat moving forward. At just 22 years old, the Kentucky product undoubtedly has a higher upside than Whiteside. Trusting him with the starting position this early early bodes well to Miami’s quest to rebuild and prepare for the future while staying in contention.

The Heat are expected to contend for the lower seed playoff spots in 2019-20 with Butler in the fold, though they need Adebayo to catapult his game to the next level if they want to consistently contend.