Bam Adebayo is an All-Star. He’s one of the NBA’s most versatile defenders. The center is extremely skilled offensively, an ace passer from the high post and powerful finisher inside.
But his return in Game 4 of the NBA Finals wasn’t all good news for the Heat.
Adebayo disrupted the offensive success Miami found in his absence. With Adebayo sidelined the previous two games by a neck injury, the Heat used Meyers Leonard and Kelly Olynyk at center. Unlike Adebayo, Leonard and Olynyk are eager 3-point shooters.
With Leonard and Olynyk spacing the floor, Jimmy Butler thrived.
His drives rarely drew help defenders at the basket. The big Lakers who usually would’ve contested shots at the rim were pulled by Leonard and Olynyk to the perimeter. Butler made mincemeat of his man, either blowing by to the rim or getting him off balance and drawing a foul.
With Butler thriving, Miami thrived.
Butler quietly led the Heat to one of the top offensive nights in NBA Finals history in Game 2. In Game 3, he loudly exploded for 40 points in a Miami win.