Bam Adebayo Says DPOY Voting Was 'Disrespectful' After Not Being Named as Finalist

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 18, 2022

Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo plays during an NBA basketball game, Monday, March 21, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Miami Heat star Bam Adebayo was none too pleased to learn he wasn't one of the three finalists for this season's NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Phoenix Suns wing Mikal Bridges, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart were named the finalists Sunday. 

Adebayo, a 2019-20 All-Star, said Monday it was "disrespectful."

Brendan Tobin @Brendan_Tobin

Bam Adebayo on not being a DPOY finalist: It's disrespectful. I feel like I can do anything that two out of the three can do. I can't teach height. All three play on TV more than me. They get more exposure. No one wants to talk about us. <a href="https://t.co/bE7pVaZdjM">pic.twitter.com/bE7pVaZdjM</a>

"I feel like I can do anything that two out of the three can do besides, I can't teach height," he told reporters. "But they all three play on TV more than me, so I would expect that. They get more TV games, and they get more exposure."

Before the season, the Heat were on track for 10 national TV games, less than half that of the Suns (22) or Celtics (21). Even the Jazz had three more games scheduled for a national broadcast.

Still, Gobert plays in one of the smaller markets in the NBA, and it hasn't prevented him from being a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and five-time All-Defensive honoree. Good luck arguing with anybody from Utah that the Jazz have benefited from perceived media bias.

Adebayo built a resume worthy of DPOY consideration. Although he only averaged 0.8 blocks, he held opponents to 42.8 percent shooting, nearly five points worse than their normal percentage, per NBA.com. At 5.8 percent, the gap was even more pronounced on three-pointers, which illustrates how well the 6'9" center can defend away from the rim.

"I guarded three dudes in one possession," he said of a sequence in a February game against the Charlotte Hornets that ended with a block on Miles Bridges. "And a fan watching it would be like, 'OK, Bam got the block.' They probably didn't see the rest of it. That's the thing with defense. It's more than who's got the most steals or the most blocks."

The problem for Adebayo and anybody else omitted from the list of finalists is that Bridges, Gobert and Smart all have strong cases of their own. Gobert remains an elite rim protector, and Bridges and Smart were excellent on the perimeter and often had to shadow the opposing team's best player.

(((Eric Koreen))) @ekoreen

In my mind, there were 6 legit DPOY candidates: Bam, Gobert, Smart, Bridges, JJJ, Giannis. Bam was on my ballot, but this was the hardest field of the 6 individual awards for me to navigate. Tried to rectify with All-Defense voting. <a href="https://t.co/4Hg5PsaKAC">https://t.co/4Hg5PsaKAC</a>

Adebayo is on track for the third All-Defensive nod of his career, but that might be cold comfort since his wait for DPOY will go on for another year.