The rise of Bam Adebayo
Adebayo's leadership and major step-up in play has led to him being selected as an All-Star. Casual fans might not have recognized him at first, but now he is an undeniable asset to a quickly emerging young Miami core. (Photo:

It didn't take long this season for people to start scouring the internet for information on the new addition to the MVP Ladders on various media outlets. Your typical contenders would pop up, then farther down the list a couple of players who you'd count as good, but not real contenders. And then there was always one name that many people couldn't figure out.

"Bam? Whose Bam? And how in the world is he on this list?"

Coming off of his first two seasons in the NBA, it would be right to wonder if there were typos. Big-time basketball junkies will tell you that this type of insurgence was likely, but to the casual fan, he was as recognizable as any other role player. But 8.9 PPG and 7.3 RPG as a Big point towards promising things in the future, not a near-bloom All-Star. 

Then the Heat got off to one of the fastest starts in Team History, and Adebayo was becoming a focal point. Claiming that he thought he could average a 16-10-5 line in the beginning of October, Adebayo has nearly worked that to perfect, averaging 16.0 PPG, 10.4 RPG and 4.7 APG in nearly 35 minutes a game. An architect of the screen assist, screen and roll and a force on the defensive end, Adebayo has been a huge reason that the Heat are becoming an increasingly unfavorable draw in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Paired with other blooming rookies in Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro on the outside, and adding veteran competitor Jimmy Butler this offseason, the prospects for the Miami Heat's season changed almost immediately once the calendar hit November.

Maxed out box scores are becoming regular notions for the third-year forward out of Kentucky, and it isn't outrageous to say that scouts saw this type of play coming. The final lottery pick of the 2017 draft, scouts noted he played above the rim, was at his best in the open court, and had phenomenal physical physique for an incoming rookie.

Drawing comparisons to Markieff Morris, Tristan Thompson, Ed Davis, and even Dwight Howard, serviceable playmaker seem more likely than an All-Star spot before his 23rd birthday. 

Many in Miami were skeptical when the front office was willing to trade away hardened veteran Hassan Whiteside this summer, but the pay off has been the emergence of a dominating young post who could grow into an even greater factor than he already is. Earning Eastern Conference Player of the Week Honors in December after an insane triple-double against the Dallas Mavericks, Adebayo solidified his already concrete case for being a player to game plan for. 

Add a plethora of double-doubles, another triple-double, and Adebayo has garnered the attention of the national media and the coaches that have to battle his post presence. Bam Adebayo and his teammate Jimmy Butler will represent in the Heat in Chicago for the All-Star game, while Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro will likely be playing in the Rising Stars competition and Duncan Robinson in the three-point challenge. Buzz is building into how much of a front runner Adebayo is for the Most Improved Award this season, but we shouldn't expect this to be where Adebayo's star fades.

Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra has said he expects Adebayo to be a leader this season, and a young core with an already glowing amount of talent will need that to be competitive this year and for the years to come.