MIAMI – A couple of hours after the Miami Heat opened their postseason with a dominant 115-91 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, the NBA announced the finalists for the 2021-22 regular season awards.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was named one of the top three candidates for Coach of the Year. Tyler Herro he was one of the top three candidates for Sixth Man of the Year. The Defensive Player of the Year bracket, however, did not include Miami forward, Bam Adebayo.
“I’m really surprised Bam’s not a finalist,” Spoelstra said after Monday’s practice. “I don’t know what people are watching. And she’s played enough games, so I don’t want that as an excuse either.”
Adebayo played in 56 games for the Heat, who had the fourth highest defensive rating in the league. He was outclassed by Marcus Smart from the Boston Celtics, who played 71 games for the No. 1 defense; Michael Bridges from the Phoenix Suns, who played 82 games for the No. 3-ranked defense; Y Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, who played 66 games for the No. 10 defense.
The Heat’s do-it-all center believes the vote wasn’t skewed by general availability, but by the number of times the top candidates’ games garnered national attention.
“A lack of respect,” Adebayo said Monday when asked about the announcement of the finalists. “I feel like I can do anything that two of the three can do. All three of them play on TV more than I do. So I would expect that. They get more exposure. People like to talk about them more. Nobody wants to talk about us.” , he highlighted.
Going into the season, the Suns had 34 nationally televised games scheduled. The Celtics had 32, the Jazz had 26 and the Heat had 22.
“I feel like that’s why a lot of guys get a lot of awards, in my opinion,” Adebayo continued. “They’re always on TV to show off their talent and they just happen to have good games.”
Herro and Spoelstra’s inclusion in the awards announcement is contradictory evidence to Adebayo’s claim, of course. And the fact that Miami went 17-9 in the games he missed would also suggest that the Heat’s team defense was a big factor in Adebayo’s success.
But Adebayo’s main point of contention was national television.
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Adebayo calls his dismissal for Defense of the Year a ‘joke’