For most, the NBA Summer League is an opportunity to make a name for yourself and potentially earn a roster spot on a team. If nothing else, it’s a chance for other teams to notice you, where they can potentially take a chance on you down the road as a free agent.
For others, it’s a chance to fine-tune your skills and stay loose as an already-successful NBA player. Former Kentucky forward Bam Adebayo fits the latter.
Through three Summer League games, Adebayo has averaged 12.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per contest. He has been bringing the ball up the court, working on his jumper, and trying out more finesse styles of play rather than just the brute strength we’re used to. He’s filling a “positionless basketball” role he learned in his time at Kentucky and expanding his game to become as well-rounded as possible, something the Miami Heat organization has asked him to do in his short time with the team.
“They want me to move forward into the positionless basketball, which I wanted to do my whole life,” Adebayo said in an interview with Couper Moorhead of HEAT.com.
“You just have to make sacrifices on some other teams. But they want me to take that push and be positionless, so that’s what I’m trying to move myself toward. Trying to add that coaching aspect to it, being that second coach on the floor like I mentioned, trying to get guys into their spots, but also not stepping on guy’s toes to the point that they think I’m trying to police them.”
It’s very obvious the Heat sees Adebayo as a cornerstone piece for the future of the franchise.
In a media opportunity during the Summer League, the former Wildcat talked about making the most of his time on the floor and utilizing each minute for development going forward.
Adebayo says Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra wants him to take that next step as a leader on the team.
“Coach wants me to be more aggressive, more assertive,” he said. “Pretty much like the team captain, and the second coach on the floor. Expectations are very high, higher than last year. I’m just trying to embrace that role.”
The end goal? Play like future NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett. Not just with skill, but his aggressiveness and overall passion for the game.
“I always wanted to play like KG [Kevin Garnett]. Just growing up watching him, his attitude, his mentality, his aggression, his skillset – just watching that, he never gave up on plays, he was the loudest on the court, he didn’t care who was in front of him. I’m just trying to build myself to be like him,” Adebayo told HEAT.com.
And even with all of the improvement and building toward the future, Adebayo still finds a way to be a kid. In his downtime, he plays video games. Lots and lots of video games.
“Honestly, I sit in the room and play Fortnite,” he said. “We pretty much play Fortnite until our eyes bleed.”
Check out Adebayo’s impressive highlights from his 2017-18 rookie season:
Go get ’em, Bam.