Heat’s Bam Adebayo places third in 2023-24 Defensive Player of the Year voting

Bam Adebayo
Bam Adebayo finished third in defensive player of the year voting for the first time in his career Tuesday. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo placed third in the 2023-24 Defensive Player of the Year voting, an award that went to Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert, the NBA announced Tuesday.

He finished third behind Gobert and San Antonio’s Victor Wembanyama, who had a historically good rookie season. Adebayo tallied three of the 99 first-place votes–one fewer than Los Angeles’ Anthony Davis, who finished in fourth for the award–in addition to 15 second-place votes and 31 third-place votes.

Here is the full voting results:

He is the only player to finish in the top-5 for Defensive Player of the Year in each of the last five years, though this year was Adebayo’s first finishing in the top-3 of the ballot. In the previous four seasons, he was No. 5, 4, 4 and 5, respectively. Though this year will be his best opportunity to make an All-Defensive first-team because this year where it will be positionless, even though not all voters may adhere to that policy.

Adebayo was the single most important player to the Heat in 2023-24. He averaged 19.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks, shooting 52.1 percent from the floor, 35.7 percent from 3-point range and 75.5 percent from the free-throw line. Though Adebayo, as he’s been for the last five years, was the backbone of the Heat’s defense.

Despite lacking point-of-attack defense with consistent personnel changes, Miami was the No. 5-ranked adjusted defense–the fourth straight year finishing in the top-8–according to Dunks and Threes, which takes into account strength of schedule. He may not flash gaudy block or steal numbers, but Adebayo was, by far, the biggest centerpiece, showing more schematic versatility in drop and in-space than he ever has before.

“I’m not the tallest. I’m not the most athletic. It’s a mind game, playing cat and mouse, trying to get somebody off center,” Adebayo told Heat beat writer Couper Moorhead in late March. “It’s understanding that certain guys don’t like that coverage, certain guys don’t like you playing off like that. You get a feel for that, you play a mind game with them. Certain guys, you know they want to throw lobs so you make them throw it and you get back and deflect it. Now he’s thinking about it.”

“Teams started to scheme a little bit on that, to try and get him away from the basket,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra told Moorhead. “Not every team, but we started to see it a little more. That made us think a little more, if it was the best move for us just to switch.

“We felt that we had to play a little bit more base coverage and also keep [Adebayo] around the basket more often, if we could control that. Let him protect the rim, let him communicate the defense as he sees it from a different angle and then also help us finish our defense better, be in better rebounding position. Where we wouldn’t always have him 23 feet out.”

Miami was also 8th in opposing turnover rate and second in defensive rebounding percentage. Plus, it was 5.1 points per 100 possessions better defensively when Adebayo was on the floor, grading in the 87th percentile, according to Cleaning The Glass.

You can make a case that Adebayo is arguably the most impactful defender in the league, given his switchability and versatility on all areas of the floor. He’s also tasked with countless box outs, screens to free up guards and playmake above the break. Few–if any–are tasked with more, which makes Adebayo’s job defensively all the more commendable.

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Iknowtoomuch

Bam brings a lot to the court Biggest attribute is he always plays hard. Certainly not the most skilled but up to now…durable & available taking pride defensively. His offensive skills are limited. Consistent shot making & scoring will always be a challenge. Hopefully he gets some help on the boards to provide an opportunity to maybe unlock some other skills.

heat for life

watching the better teams especially in the west .athleticism and length are severely lacking on this team to say the least,to say riley has done a good job since getting butler is total bs .just the opposite.heat culture is keeping lebron james when u have him drafting wade,acquiring butler.great job by pat but looking at him and what he has done lately its time for mickeys best friend to call it a day.we thank u so much pat for rescuing us from billy cunningam and louis schafel and making the heat the best sports team in miami for decades.applause 4u not sure who we can get this off season but bam adebayo should be our third best player.cleve prob getting swept by boston so donovan gonna want out but theres alot of tread on those tires.pat theres a dude called sunman here who needs to be acquiring the talent 4u.pat if u read this great website u need to give the reins to him if u dont want to retire at your age hire him as your assistant but let him acquire the players so we dont get stuck with dunc 2.0 and ty 2.0.thank u pat

2qbn

Pat traded for Jimmy and the team has been to two Finals and one shot away in a game 7 from making a 3rd. Ask any other GM if they would like those results.

Pat traded for the guy Butler wanted in Kyle Lowry and that was okay, but overall was a negative, especially losing a pick and Precious. Pat tried to get Durant, and waited it out for Dame, but neither worked out, mostly due to Portland’s GM being spiteful. That dumbass should have taken Niko and JJJ instead of always hurt Williams and Brogdon.

The good news I have for you is Pat gets another shot this offseason. I’m not expecting a big trade, though one never knows once it’s officially the offseason and teams are making decisions, but there will be some tweaks. We might even keep and use our draft picks 😉

heat for life

id be happy to run it back with adding a jon collins type and a josh hart type player.sunman needs to replace pat.let pat enjoy his remaining years cruising the world with mickey.i have more faith in sunman getting it done than pat to be honest with u.pat will u please check in on hhh.im tired of small and unathletic players

Reality Czech

You and SunMan make reasonable, intelligent points. If a mysterious Mr X interviewed with an NBA team and said, if hired, I will give you a money back guarantee that your team will make the playoffs five years in a row, be in the conference finals three times, and the finals twice, pretty much every team in the league would hire him and hope that maybe one of those years they’ll win it all. Very few GMs have accomplished that.

SunManFromDogBone

Thanks Heat. Don’t be so hard on Pat. I don’t always agree with him either, but he’s done a very good job keeping the Heat competitive under difficult circumstances. Butler and Rozier were very good trades. I think where Riley, Spo and Miami’s talent evaluation staff have missed the boat is with frontcourt help for Bam. “Small Ball” is D-E-A-D!!! It died with Golden State. Of the best remaining teams in the playoffs, the top teams all have 6’11”-7’0″+ players in the paint. All Miami has is 6’9″ Bam, 6’7″ Butler, 6’6″ Jaquez and 6’5″ Martin. Jaquez and Martin are more SFs than PFs. I don’t really count Jovic. He is more of a SF/finesse player, not someone whose body can hold up to banging in the paint with the big boys. Bryant and ORob are reserves, at best.

An immediate fix would be to get Bam help in the paint. If not a bonafied center, then a PF. I would trade Herro for Collins or Duncan for Stewart. Collins and Stewart are two different types of players. Both are good rebounders. I would also trade Butler for the best younger SG or SF available, plus pick(s) or young player(s) with potential. Finally, I would go after the best available center in the draft. It might take a season (or two) for the “Phoenix to Rise Again” from the ashes, but the team would get younger, taller and more athletic. Either that or keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results (the definition of insanity).

GO HEAT!!!

heat for life

pre butler pat great post butler pat bad.post sunman butler ???

Reality Czech

You are correct about Riley and I feel the same. It’s hard to argue against the results of the last 5 years as many have correctly pointed out, especially as it’s been done with their back always seemingly against the hard cap. Plus, the team almost never has a high draft pick which could completely change a franchise, as we’ve seen with OKC and Orlando, amongst others. One of Riley’s problems is trying to placate his (super) star. I don’t think he would have traded for Lowry if Butler didn’t push for him. I believe we would’ve done no worse had we kept Dragic and Precious. And that contract was a disaster. Remember when he drafted Napier because LeBron suggested it? We moved up 2 lousy spots and gave Charlotte our pick plus 2 seconds. If we use our brilliant 20-20 hindsight (like some people), we could have chosen Capela, Bogdan Bogdanovic , or even, yes, Jokic. And then there have been knee jerk contracts like Duncan, Whiteside, Johnson, Waiters. I don’t think the Herro contract was a mistake at the time, but, unfortunately, his performance has been inconsistent.
Like you, I hope the Heat add one or two big bodies that can actually contribute. Question – do you think Jaxson Hayes would be a decent backup? I haven’t seen him enough to get a read on him, but he’s just turning 24 and has great height and athleticism.

Last edited 20 days ago by Reality Czech
SunManFromDogBone

I don’t think the Heat’s problem is back-up center. Jaxson Hayes would be like putting a bandaid on a gunshot would. At 7’0″” and 220 lbs, he can’t bang with the big boys.

I think not having a legitimate starting frontcourt player next to Bam is the real problem. Crowder, Tucker, Martin and Jovic are/were not legitimate frontcourt POWER FORWARDS! If Bam was not as versatile and athletic as he is (able to guard 1-5) Pat would have addressed this problem long ago. Spo is going to burn him out having him run all over the court PLUS rushing back into the paint to bang with the big boys.

Now that Bam has a very good mid-range shot and a quickly improving 3 point shot, he can be moved to PF and a true center can be brought in next to him. It would free up both his offensive and defensive games. He could do a ton of damage on the perimeter defensively if he didn’t need to be rushing back to simultaneously be guarding the paint. I can see the Heat being much more effective defensively with someone like Jarett Allen, Nic Claxton, Jaren Jackson or even Isaiah Hartenstein playing next to Bam.

If nothing else, Miami can draft Zach Edey to provide muscle and rebounding in the paint. Like Jaquez, he is a four year player and is more physically and emotionally mature than most players in the draft. He averaged 25.2 ppg and 12.2 rpg with #2 ranked Purdue. Who knows how good he can be if he is in world class shape and has NBA class coaching. (7’4″ 300 lbs! Get the f*** outa here!)

I still think Butler and Herro should be traded. But those are other stories altogether.

Reality Czech

Again, agree. I like Edey. With Bam’s versatility, you could just park Edey in the paint and have Bam roam the perimeter and switch to the opposing center if that player comes out to the perimeter. I was not asking about Hayes as a solution, just that he can be an inexpensive addition at backup and I like his height, age, and athleticism.

SunManFromDogBone

My only point about Hayes is that he is not a real solution in the starting unit. He won’t score much and can’t bang with the big boys.

2qbn

Edey would also provide that big body to throw at Embiid in the east, and if you get to where you want to go, Joker and Gobert.

Is he even going to be there? Is that position even on their radar? Can’t wait to find out.

SunManFromDogBone

He’s targeted to go after Miami’s pick…somewhere in mid-late first round and even as low as high second round. Teams are not sure his college game will translate to NBA, where players are bigger than college.

Bout30man

Thanks for never backing down. A lot of what you say here is just how I see it. Pat made an incredible trade for Jimmy, an incredible pick in Bam, and he was all set as all he had to add was one more decent player. All his efforts for the next four years yielded little. VO was a gamble which failed. Lowry was a major disappointment, especially at his cost. And finally, he hit on Rozier, but by that time, Jimmy couldn’t carry us anymore. Almost every offseason acquisition was a bust or hardly moved the needle. He dealt himself into a corner giving out contracts and then had to try to fill in with G leaguers or buyout players because he couldn’t pay for good players or didn’t have assets to give. He used up draft choices too so he had little to offer and he grossly misjudged, and still does, the value of his tradeable assets, particularly Ty and Dunc. With their contracts, they are going to be hard to move, as was found out last summer. In summation, Pat was right at the precipice of a championship, he had the window open but he blew it. A better GM, not historically, but over the last four years, would have gotten us over the hump as it was right there for us.
I agree with you on that. It’s not negativity and it’s not bailing on the Heat. Its just sadness over what could have been.

Big_guy305

Sure pat Riley had his faults, with sometimes questionable decision making, but no other gm would of gotten over the hump, except maybe bob myers,and Jerry west, whose just been a consultant for awhile now. Not Brad Stevens, not Sam presti, not Morey, not Rob Pelinka, not ujiri, not james jones, not horst. We could’ve of won the championship in the bubble, but injuries costed us that title. Riley has been arguably the best or a top 3 gm at worst the past 5 years. The biggest factor for us not winning the chip has always been INJURIES. With that being said hopefully Riley makes us eat some crow because he’s still the godfather for a reason.

Last edited 20 days ago by Big_guy305
Reality Czech

I agree with this. As I wrote above, there have been questionable decisions. The biggest in this period imo was the disastrous $85 million Lowry deal. Dragic would likely have stayed for near the minimum. Precious was still on the rookie contract. We could have added a key piece for $20-25 million that would’ve potentially put us over the top. Turner, Vucevic, Smart, Anunoby, and Capela are all making under $21 million (I’m not saying all were available, but some were).

SunManFromDogBone

Celtics beat Cavs by 25. OKC beats Mavs by 22. Minnesota is up on Denver 2-0. Miami didn’t have a chance in hell this year…Jimmy or no Jimmy. Until/unless something drastic changes for the better, the Heat will be a second or third tier team for the forseeable future. Anyone who tells you differently is blowing smoke up ur azz!

2qbn

The Magic are coming for them! Jk lol

Bout30man

Good comments. The league is changing. And we have to change too. Wouldn’t it be great if we could revisit everything a year from now and know whether the trade Jimmy people or the keep Jimmy and try to add people, which ones are right.

Reality Czech

I’m taking the heads I win, tails you lose approach. I strongly believe the Heat would be better off with young players, but if they run it back, I’m hoping for that key addition.

ZechMerquise

the formula to go far in the playoffs: hungry, young, multiple skilled bigs.

if you look at Minnesota, they have Gobert, a big that is very good defensively but not offensively, and KAT, a big that is very good offensively but not defensively. Bam is in between Gobert and Towns in terms of skills

SunManFromDogBone

Bam is the future of the Heat. He works hard and keeps his nose to the grindstone. He is Heat Culture. Pay the man!

oregoner

agreed. I think the offseason plan has to be adding a lead scorer to play alongside Bam. I am less concerned about whether the Heat trade Jimmy or someone else, and more concerned about whether the Heat can add that complimentary scorer, one way or another

Reality Czech

Yes sir!

heat for life

hes already a tyrese maxey.he needs to maxey his offense,needs to get better offensivley to be a real maxey

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