Written by Manny Navarro
The lesson Monday night for rookie Bam Adebayo was about preparedness, and coach Erik Spoelstra tested the Heat’s first round pick by throwing him a curveball.
With 7:28 left in the first half, Spoelstra did something he hadn’t done in Miami’s first three preseason games. He threw Adebayo, 20, into the fire with the Heat’s regular rotation, subbing him in for backup center Kelly Olynyk and pitting the rookie opposite Dwight Howard, an eight-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA first team selection.
The results didn’t go well. Adebayo, admittedly surprised to find himself in the game, picked up three fouls in three minutes and eight seconds. He grabbed one rebound, a steal, but turned it over once and missed his only shot in a stretch the Hornets outscored the Heat 10-0 before Spoelstra brought out the hook .
“The biggest lesson right there is you always have to be ready,” Spoelstra said. “… That’s the life of a young player trying to break in. And the Tyler Johnsons, the Josh Richardsons, and the Rodney McGruders know that world very well. You don’t play for a couple weeks, two or three weeks if not more, then all of a sudden, boom, coach throws you in there in the second quarter. And yes, you’re expected to know what’s going on and be productive in those minutes.