Bam Adebayo Props for Heat vs. Knicks | How to Find Value With Jimmy Butler Sidelined
Dustin Satloff/Getty Images. Pictured: Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat.
Editor’s Note: Jimmy Butler will not play in Game 2 of the Heat vs Knicks series due to an ankle injury. For real-time injury updates, check out our FantasyLabs NBA news page.
Bam Adebayo had a quality two-way performance in Game 1, and yet another that’ll likely go overlooked due to the lack of gaudy offense.
I will remind people that if the Eastern Conference Finals MVP Award was a debuted three years ago, Adebayo would’ve likely won it in 2020. He was that good.
Offensively it’s up-and-down post-season for Adebayo, and that trend has unfolded throughout his career. Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, who’ll scoff at you if you question Adebayo’s significance on the floor, elects not to play through the 6-foot-9 big regularly on offense this time of year — he goes to it when they need it, hence ‘Point Bam’ emerging as theHeat came back to close out the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5.
Well, Jimmy Butler turned his right ankle again — with five minutes left in what became a Game 1 win over the New York Knicks — and is a game-time decision for today. Even if he plays, he won’t be fully healthy.
Last year, Butler missed one playoff game — the Heat’s Round 1 closeout victory over the Atlanta Hawks — and was noticeably limited in Games 3-5 against the Boston Celtics in the Conference Finals. His potential absence could provide some value on Adebayo in props markets, but first let’s take a look at what he did well when he became the offensive focus due to Butler injuries.
Hawks vs. Heat Round 1 Game 5
Adebayo: 20 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists
This was the only game Butler missed that season, and it was because of a knee injury. The Heat led the Hawks 3-1 in the series and were +59 in the four games prior — that included a loss.
Victor Oladipo started in place of Butler, joining Adebayo in the starting lineup, along with Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, and PJ Tucker. Adebayo had no real offensive rhythm in the series averaging just 10.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists to that point. There was some foul trouble in games two and four, limiting him to 29 minutes per game until Game 4.
Adebayo asserted himself early with five points and five rebounds in the first quarter, and while he didn’t take a shot in the second, he dished out four assists while garnering more attention from Hawk defenders. Similar to this playoff run, where Adebayo’s been a much better second-half performer, he added 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the final two quarters, where he also made 5-of-6 free throw attempts.
He only took 11 field goals — not as big of an issue this year — which was behind four other Heat players. Still, it was his best outing of the series, and one needed to land the 97-94 elimination game win.
Heat vs Celtics East finals Game 3
Adebayo: 31 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals
This is one of two 30-point playoff games for Adebayo, and arguably his most impressive. Butler started the game but didn’t return after halftime due to a knee injury, visibly causing discomfort in the first half.
Even before his exit, Adebayo put the Heat on his back, and not just defensively.
🏀 Bam Adebayo when Jimmy Butler was heavily compromised or inactive during the '22 playoffs:
– 20 pts, 11 rebs, 4 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk, 7-11 FG, 6-8 FT
– 31 pts, 10 rebs, 6 ast, 4 stls, 1 blk, 15-22 FG
– 9 pts, 6 rebs, 2 ast (blowout L)
– 18 pts, 10 rebs, 1 blk, 8-15 FG@5OTF_pic.twitter.com/6lEgeXc7q4
— Bryan Fonseca 🇵🇷 (@BryanFonsecaNY) May 1, 2023
He shot 6-for-9 in the first quarter with 12 points, he had 16 at halftime, adding seven and eight, respectively, getting 31 points on 15-of-22 shooting. The only oddity about the performance was the one foul shot, but it wasn’t due to lack of aggression. Adebayo occasionally drove and initiated contacted, but it was straight jumpers, homie. He tormented Al Horford and anyone else the Celtics threw on him en route to a 109-103 win, putting Miami up 2-1.
Heat vs. Celtics East finals Game 4
Adebayo 9 points, 6 rebounds
Whew, this one was awful.
Miami was down 29-11 after the first, 57-33 at half, and 76-52 after three. None of the starters played in the fourth, limiting Adebayo to 27 minutes. In the game, he only took five shots. Heat starters combined for 18 points — Adebayo had half, Butler (6) and Kyle Lowry (3) had the rest.
The Heat played at a 89.5 Pace, had a 91.6 Offensive Rating, and shot 33% from the floor. You get the idea.
Celtics vs Heat East finals Game 5
18 points, 10 rebounds, 1 block
Butler played 40 minutes and noticeably had zero lift. He shot 4-for-18 and looked cooked, finishing with 13 points.
Adebayo paced the Heat with 18 and 10, and shot 8-of-15 from the field — second in Heat field goal attempts after Butler. He had 10 points and five boards by halftime on 5-of-8 shooting with zero free throw attempts. He didn’t score again until the fourth, pacing the Heat portion of the stanza with eight points on 3-of-5 shooting, and he finally got to the line, hitting both shots.
The Heat had a worse offensive rating than previous game, 89.9. They somehow led 19-17 after one and 42-37 at halftime — then were outscored 32-16 in the third quarter before losing 93-80.
Adebayo can absolutely score, but the consistent free throw dip is a concern. Sure, you can say the same for most NBA players from regular season to playoffs, but it still serves as a decent barometer for what we’re looking for.
Since becoming a starter in 2019, Adebayo has averaged 5.9 free throw attempts per 36 minutes in the regular season and 4.9 per 36 in the playoffs. If you remove 2019-20, the only season where his offensive production was noticeably better in the playoffs and his free throw attempts jumped from 5.7 to 6.0, he’s averaged just 4.1 free throw attempts per 36 in the playoffs.
The biggest dip has come this season in which it has fallen from 5.6 to 3.3. Yes, the bad hamstring is a factor — he seemingly hasn’t been completely right all second half if you watch him move — but he’s still out there.
Spoelstra does seem to go to Bam two or three times per series as a true offensive hub beyond initiating Heat shooters, and Adebayo’s offensive issues aren’t all aggression based — he’s at 15.5 field goal attempts per game (and 17.2 per 36!), both playoff career-highs. Of his shots, 38.7% are from 10-16 feet, where he’s hitting 50%. From 3 feet and in — 32.3% of his shots — he’s at 56.7%. But between 3-to-10 feet is where he’s struggling: 23.7% of his shots come from there, and he’s just at 36.4%.
He’s also at a career-high 26.7% playoff usage, up from just 17.9 last year — perhaps in some part due to Tyler Herro’s absence, but that’s still a hell of a jump.
He’s largely struggling early in games, missing shots in the first half before picking it up late. Of his 16 points, eight came in the fourth quarter, quiet as kept, and it was on 3-of-5 shooting. He also had eight rebounds and two assists last game while keeping Mitchell Robinson away from the glass with an array of box-outs.
Heat vs Knicks Game 2 Player Props
Assists: Even if he’s the hub, a big part of that will be to activate shooters, be it dribble handoffs or drawing two and kicking out — both of which will have to be available against the Knicks, especially if Butler is compromised. For Game 2 specifically, his prop is 3.5. He’d have more than two last game if his teammates didn’t shoot 33% from deep.
Points + Assists: If he’s truly a hub, then he’s a hub. That 22.5 mark for Game 2 is a tough one I might stay away from — you’d need him to get hot from mid-range and shooters he finds to hit shots — but he’s more than capable, as shown above, which is why he’s an NBA Twitter lightning rod to begin with.
Stocks: If Adebayo truly has it going, the stocks will come. He’s the best defensive player in the league who doesn’t get gaudy stocks — you can argue he’s the best, or at least the most versatile, period. Over 1.5 is the number for Game 2 — that should be easy money, even if he’s not having a huge scoring night.
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