Bam Adebayo’s improved shot gives Miami Heat offense a higher ceiling in 2021

The Miami Heat struggled shooting during their loss Friday versus the Dallas Mavericks. However, Bam Adebayo's jump shot opens Miami's offense to many things.

By Austin Konenski
Dec 29, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) shoots over Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat struggled shooting the ball during their 93-83 point loss Friday night against the Dallas Mavericks. The Heat started off by shooting 0-of-14 from the three-point line to start the game. By the time they made their first three, the game was almost out of reach.

Bam Adebayo was the bright spot to a rather poor performance from the Heat. The 23-year-old forward put up 19 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, and four steals on 8-of-12 shooting in 36 minutes. Adebayo was efficient shooting the ball and provided his normal impact on the floor.

Adebayo has been very consistent this year when it comes to shooting the ball. While the Heat haven’t been a good offensive team thus far, Adebayo’s improved shot gives them a potentially top offense once everything is in place.

Related: NBA power rankings – Phoenix Suns now a championship contender

Bam Adebayo’s shot by distance compared to last year

There has been a noticeable difference in the shots Bam Adebayo has been attempting this season through five games. Adebayo attempted 78.2% of his shots in the 0-10 feet area during the 2019-’20 season. That total is down 16.7% compared to how many he is attempting so far this season.

Through the first five games, Adebayo has attempted 22.8% of his shots from the 10-16 feet area and 15.8% from 16 feet to the three-point line. The number of attempted shots last year from those distances were 14.4% and 5.6% respectively.

The most eye-popping statistic out of everything is how efficient his shots have been. Adebayo shot 40.4% from the 10-16 feet area and 22.7% from the 16 feet to the three-point line last season. The young forward’s shooting percentage from those areas have skyrocketed.

Adebayo is shooting 61.5% from the 10-16 feet area and 44.4% from 16 feet to the three-point line. Both of those areas are around 20% better than he was shooting last season. For comparison, 76ers center Joel Embiid is shooting 35.7% and 50.0% from those areas respectively with a similar attempted field goal percentage.

The average distance of his shots is also up 2.0 feet from his average shot distance last year. In all likelihood, Adebayo may increase this even more due to his boosted confidence on the offensive end. While it may be too early to judge, it seems as if Adebayo will make a big jump on offense this year.

Related: 50 Top NBA players of 2021 – Historical performance has Zion Williamson on the rise

Bam Adebayo’s jump shot gives the Miami Heat more options

Bam Adebayo's jump shot gives the Miami Heat more options
Dec 25, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo (13) shoots the ball over New Orleans Pelicans center Steven Adams (12) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat have struggled when it comes to their play on the offensive end. They are ranked 26th in the league in terms of PPG with only 103.4 points scored per night. Bam Adebayo leads the Heat with 19.0 PPG, while Goran Dragic leads the team with 5.2 APG.

Opposing teams have been more committed to defending Adebayo in the paint, opposed to expanding their coverage into the mid-range area. This situation creates a loaded paint, similar to what Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo faces on a nightly basis.

The further that Adebayo expands his range, the more defenses will be unable to sag off him as a shooter. This will create more fluidity to their offense once Jimmy Butler is fully healthy and head coach Erik Spoelstra decides what to do for his rotations this season.

Defenders will also have to defend Adebayo’s drives and jump shots, which would create more unpredictability for his game. He could flourish under this scenario as he is shooting 82.6% from the 0-3 feet area so far this season. This is a 10% boost from last season and the highest of his career.

The Heat are ranked dead-last in the NBA with 19.8 turnovers per game. Because of their sloppiness, they are also ranked last with 79.4 field goal attempts per game, which is 4.6 shots less than 29th place. The absence of Jimmy Butler combined with the unsteady rotations, has created many missed opportunities for Miami’s offense.

Miami knows that Adebayo will eventually expand his game to the three-point line, but that may not come this season. The offense’s strength last season was their three-point shooting as they ranked second in the NBA with a 37.9% three-point percentage. However, they are only shooting 33.4% from the arc this season.

Once they are able to get everything in order, look for the Heat to run their offense even more through Bam Adebayo. The more he continues to prove to other teams that his jump shot is a consistent part of his game, the more dangerous their offense can become.

Related: NBA playoff predictions: Projecting East and West top 8 seeds, 2020-21 postseason bracket