MIAMI — When asked to describe Bam Adebayo’s pre-draft Heat workout, coach Erik Spoelstra and team president Pat Riley gave similar answers.
“It was a ‘wow’ workout,” Spoelstra said. “You see that when you watch him on film. There are a lot of ‘wow’ plays that make you say, ‘OK.’ You just don’t see a lot of players of that size with that kind of quickness and athleticism particularly exploding to the rim.”
Riley was just as impressed when he watched the 19-year-old work out alongside other draft prospects on the Heat’s practice court at AmericanAirlines Arena.
“It’s a ‘wow’ factor,” Riley said. “He’s not 7-1 like Hassan [Whiteside] but he plays like him at 6-9. He’s an above the rim player for real while other guys try to play above the rim. His speed, his quickness, his ability.”
But one quality Riley forgot to mention was Adebayo’s competitiveness. It’s clear the 6-foot-10 big man out of Kentucky plays with a competitive edge, and it’s one of the many reasons Miami selected him with the 14th overall pick in Thursday’s draft.
Some lottery picks don’t like to work out against other players before the draft. But Adebayo insisted on group sessions.
“I’m a competitor,” Adebayo said. “I like to compete. I never wanted to have a workout where I was by myself. I always wanted to have somebody to compete against.”
Heat player development assistant coaches Chris Quinn and Octavio De La Grana were among those who worked out Adebayo. The session also included tutelage from assistant coach Juwan Howard.
With a No. 78 practice jersey on, Adebayo made an immediate impression on the Heat’s coaching staff.
“We noticed the competitiveness right away, edginess,” Spoelstra said. “He wanted to compete, to continue to do drills of competition even though we went about an hour and a half. We had already seen enough after 20 minutes. But he wanted to stay out there. He was the last one in the gym. We notice things like that. Everybody else cleared out, walked downstairs onto the next thing. And he was still working on his game and taking advantage of an open gym time. I thought it was a tremendous workout. But all it did was confirm everything our scouts had known about him.”
Adebayo will now have a few days off before the Heat begin their summer camp on Wednesday. He’s expected to play for Miami in both the Orlando and Las Vegas Summer Leagues.
“He will get a chance to go home for 48 hours. That’s enough, right?” Spoelstra said Friday, looking at Adebayo with a smile. “He’ll change suits, get his practice gear and he’ll be ready for practice on Wednesday.”