Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo has largely been a non-factor in the first two games against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals. In Games 1 and 2 combined, Adebayo took just 10 total shots and scored 16 total points. Simply put, that isn't going to cut it. If Miami is going to win this series, he's going to have to be much more assertive.
Given his lack of aggression early on in the series, Adebayo has unsurprisingly been on the receiving end of some criticism from both fans and pundits alike. Former NBA point guard and current ESPN analyst Jay Williams called Adebayo out after the Heat were dominated in Game 2.
"Bam Adebayo, you're an All-Star," Williams said on the "KJM Show." "Where are you? What are we doing? This game last night, you took six shots. The game before that, you took four shots. You need your other All-Star to come to the damn party and to be aggressive. Now, Erik Spoelstra needs to design some plays to get him the ball, but he needs to demand the ball."
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The fact that the Heat need to get Adebayo going against Boston isn't lost on Spoelstra, who acknowledged that getting Adebayo more offensive opportunities is a point of emphasis heading into Game 3. The Heat coach added that it's on him to get Adebayo those opportunities, and that he expects regular season-level production from the center on Saturday. Adebayo averaged over 19 points per game during the regular season, and that's exactly the type of production the Heat will need.
Spoelstra is correct in saying that it's on him to put Adebayo in position to succeed on the offensive end. He can do this by deliberately running plays for him at areas where he's comfortable going to work, like the elbow or on the low block. The Heat should look to get Adebayo involved early in Game 3 in order to get his confidence going. Boston's frontcourt is tough, and deep, but Adebayo should still be able to find some success.
While it's on Spoelstra to get Adebayo going, it's also up to Adebayo himself to be more assertive. At the end of the day, a coach can only do so much from the sideline. Adebayo has to fight for position, demand the ball and look to attack Boston's defense -- things that he didn't really do during the first two games of the series.
The good news for Miami is that Adebayo will be playing with a chip on his shoulder in Game 3 after being , and not the First Team, for the third straight year. Perhaps this perceived snub will light a fire under Adebayo and propel him to step up his game against the Celtics.