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Heat’s Pat Riley invokes Dwyane Wade, Alonzo Mourning, Udonis Haslem when talking Bam Adebayo

Heat

The Miami Heat have unearthed a gem in newly minted All-Star big man Bam Adebayo. The 22-year-old third-year man out of Kentucky is playing at an absurd level right now for the Heat, and he deserves every bit of his first-ever All-Star selection.

For his part, Heat president Pat Riley has nothing but good things to say about his big man of the future. The longtime executive invoked some of the biggest names in franchise history in describing the type of impact he expects Adebayo to have (and is currently having) in Miami.

“He’s the Zo [Alonzo Mourning],” Riley says, via ESPN’s Zach Lowe. “He’s the UD [Udonis Haslem]. He’s the Dwyane [Wade]. They were standard-bearers. Bam is that person. He is the real deal.”

That’s some pretty good company to keep for Adebayo, and the fact that it came from such an esteemed individual as Riley adds further legitimacy to the claim. Riley has proven in the past that he possesses a keen eye for talent, so for him to talk up Adebayo this much speaks volumes of how much the 6-foot-9 forward/center figures in the Heat’s plans for the future.

Adebayo has upped his level of play tremendously in his third year, and he’s currently averaging 15.8 points (on 57.9 percent shooting), 10.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.2 blocks in 34.5 minutes per game of action. The summer arrival of Jimmy Butler has been one of the main reasons why the Heat are sitting comfortably in the upper half of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but there’s no denying that credit also has to be given to Adebayo and his immense contributions. Both players will be representing the Heat in the All-Star Game in Chicago.

Miami enters the All-Star break with a 35-19 record, which is good for fourth in the East.