Bam Adebayo believes that there is only one candidate for Defensive Player of the Year: himself.
Adebayo did a short TV interview on TNT after the Miami Heat beat the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night, laying claim to the trophy.
When TNT analyst Dwyane Wade mocked Adebayo about his haircut, Adebayo responded with a witty retort “Hey man, it’s getting me Defensive Player of Year. Let’s talk about that.”
“I do everything on defense,” he went on to say. “And I’m going to walk out on that one.”
Adebayo is completely correct in saying that he does everything on defense. He has the most blocks on the squad, is third in steals, and can manage any assignment on the court. It’s difficult to do better than Adebayo as a modern defensive anchor. He’s capable of playing drop coverage, switching, and any other scheme the Heat need. There are few, if any, bigs who can move to smaller, faster guards and be completely capable. At the very least, he should be a lock for first-team All-Defense honors.
But it doesn’t appear that he’ll win Defensive Player of the Year this season. Rudy Gobert of Utah and Ben Simmons of Philadelphia seem to be in a two-man race for the award right now. According to Cleaning The Glass, the Jazz are first in safety, followed by the 76ers and the Heat. The Jazz still have the best record in the league, while the 76ers lead the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Heat are currently ranked sixth in the Eastern Conference and are not considered one of the league’s top teams. That matters when it comes to deciding the Defensive Player of the Year.
Still, Adebayo should be staking his claim for win right now. He, along with Jimmy Butler, did a lot to keep Miami functioning after their run to the Finals in the Bubble. This awards come down to nitpicking and Adebayo has just a few more flaws in his resume for this season. This also probably not the last time Adebayo will make his case as the league’s best defender.