Mailbag: Has Bam Adebayo earned a spot in Heat’s rotation even when Hassan Whiteside returns from injury?

Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the San Antonio Spurs at American Airlines Arena on October 25, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

MIAMI — It’s time for another Heat mailbag.

If you weren’t able to ask a question this time, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44). You can also e-mail me at achiang@pbpost.com.

Danny, Fort Lauderdale: Has Bam Adebayo earned a spot in the Heat’s rotation even when Hassan Whiteside returns from injury?

Anthony Chiang: That’s for Erik Spoelstra to decide, but I would say … yes. There’s an obvious place for Bam in this rotation. He brings energy, athleticism and a defensive presence the Heat have taken advantage of while Whiteside has been out. Bam is averaging 6.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.2 blocks over the past six games — all without Whiteside. And one could make a very strong argument that Bam is already one of the Heat’s top interior defenders, as he has limited players he’s guarded to 46.4 percent shooting within six feet of the basket — 14.3 percent worse than their average shooting percentage within that range. These are all impressive numbers for a 20-year-old rookie.

The challenge for Erik will be to find consistent minutes for Bam when Hassan returns. With Bam getting 100 percent of his minutes at center this season, according to Basketball Reference, that leaves him on the outside looking in with Kelly Olynyk and Hassan ahead of him on the center depth chart. The only way to get all three players — Kelly, Hassan and Bam — significant minutes each game is to play Kelly or Bam at power forward for stretches. This is not out of the question, especially with how effective both players have been with Hassan out.

@Aj3th: Who has been the Heat’s most consistent player this season? My point is that no player has been consistent this year.

Anthony Chiang: Your point isn’t wrong. Inconsistency has been an issue for the Heat this season, as a team and individually. If I have to pick the Heat player who’s been the most consistent, I’ll go with Goran Dragic. But even then, Goran already has six single-digit scoring games this season. He had just three single-digit scoring performances last year. Despite that, Goran is still averaging a team-high 17.3 points on 45.7 percent shooting, 4.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists. That’s not a bad stat line, at all.

[Erik Spoelstra passing Pat Riley’s Heat coaching records on all fronts]

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