The Miami Heat are flying high at the top of the Eastern Conference and continue to be one of the best defensive teams in the Association as well. A big reason for that is big man Bam Adebayo, who is locking it down on a nightly basis down low and emerging as a legitimate candidate for Defensive Player of The Year.
If you're asking teammate P.J. Tucker, there is zero doubt Bam should be winning DPOY at the season's end for one reason in particular. Via Heat Nation:
“You can’t be the Defensive Player of the Year if you can’t play in most fourth quarters. That’s insanity to me,” Tucker said, referencing how the game has changed with teams like Brooklyn playing Kevin Durant at the five in closing lineups. “Just look at fourth-quarter lineups, that’s the game.”
What makes Adebayo so special defensively is his ability to guard all five positions on the floor. He's averaging 1.5 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 10.2 rebounds per game, never mind a career-best 19.2 points on the offensive end of the floor. Whether it's Kevin Durant, Ja Morant, or Joel Embiid, the Heat center can keep up with the best of them.
Although he's played in only 48 games in 2021-22 due to injury, Bam is invaluable to this Miami squad and definitely deserves a serious look for DPOY alongside the likes of Draymond Green, Mikal Bridges, and Rudy Gobert.