The 2017 NBA draft was one of the most anticipated drafts that I can remember in a long time thanks to the Ball family, Lavar Ball and the Big Baller Brand all wrapped up in one. Ball announced on Twitter that the only NBA team that his son Lonzo Ball from UCLA will showcase his talents for is the Los Angeles Lakers. He tweeted, “LaVar Ball: Lonzo Ball ‘Only Working Out’ For Lakers; Predicts Playoff Drought Ends With Son In L.A.” The claim would be further solidified on June 22, the day of the 2017 NBA draft, where he stated that Ball would get the Los Angeles Lakers back into the playoffs in his first year with the team. Oh by the way, Lonzo was selected by the Lakers with the number two pick, not number one. I am here to focus on the number 14 pick; it belonged to the rebuilding Miami Heat.
Rebuilding post the Big Three era continues as the new season begins with a “Bam”! Literally. The Heat’s pick at number 14 was Kentucky’s Edrice “Bam” Adebayo who turns 20 in the month of July. Adebayo has a 38 ½ and an intimidating 7-3 wingspan.
It was a puzzling pick moreover Bam was shocked his talents were on the way to Miami. “Not until 30 seconds left on that clock,” Adebayo stated. “I was that surprised.” Chris Bosh is officially gone and this is clearly his replacement to compliment Hassan Whiteside in the frontcourt. Adebayo averaged 13 points, eight rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 30 minutes per game while at Kentucky.
What stands out is he connected on 60 percent of his shots on the hardwood and was a force around the rim. “He has a toughness, a motor, a defensive mindset,” head coach Erik Spoelstra stated. This was Miami’s third highest pick since Dwyane Wade in 2003, Michael Beasley (second in 2008) and Justise Winslow (10th in 2015).
Bam is expected to make 2.5 million next season with a five-year expectancy in Miami. He joins Heat nation with a roster of eight players under contract for next season and until July 7th to resign Wayne Ellington for 6.3 million at their choice. The NBA salary cap will be 99 million, approximately two million less than projected. The Heat have slightly less than 65 million in 2017-18 salary cap commitments. Nearly 35 million is what Pat Riley will have to play with in free agency. Dion Waiters and James Johnson want to stay in Miami but Riley is expected to put his name in the Gordon Hayward sweepstakes.
The Heat will develop Adebayo but they need the “Bam” the Heat was had. Since Wade was drafted, Miami has drafted 22 players. Not one has made an NBA All-Star team. Bam made 170 shots from the field for Kentucky last season, 101 of those beings dunks. This needs to be a dunk particularly for the Heat going into free agency.