Miami Heat president Pat Riley discussed Bam Adebayo, Miami’s first-round pick, and other topics in a late-night news conference after the NBA Draft.
Here is what he had to say about the former University of Kentucky power forward/center:
“The reasoning behind the selection of Bam is we felt, or I felt, all of us, probably the best athlete, hungry, humble and healthy. Very strong. Great workouts with us. Great interview. Saw him a number of times. Just off the charts from an athletic standpoint.
“We’re lacking depth in the frontcourt. There are a number of things we want to sort of cover and fill, but when he was on the board at 14, we felt just compelled to take him. Shot-blocker, explosive, a lob threat, jumper a leaper, runs rim to rim, can guard 1 through 5. We felt the need to get an athletic big.
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“From a defensive standpoint, that’s where the emphasis came at that time. There were other bigs that were available that had specific skills, but there were other things we didn’t like about them. I think he’ll be a perfect fit for us. But... he’s 19 years hold.... We are really excited about it, to be able to get him.
“It’s a wow factor. 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, quickness, ability. We put him in situations to guard perimeter guys. We felt the need to get an athletic big. He’s a gamer. He’s hungry. He’s as clean as a whistle.
“We put him in situations to guard perimeter guys [in a July 8 workout]. I’m a big fan of what John [Calipari] does from a coaching standpoint at Kentucky. He comes from a great system.
Also, when we sat and talked to Bam for an hour, you get blown away by his story, his background, his motivation. We felt he was the best player on the board at that time. Now he’s not the best shooter, but that all comes. When he was in the workout for us, he made 30 out of 50 threes and had a great release. All that comes with young big men.
“He played 30 minutes a game, shot about 60 percent. He’s a very efficient player around the basket. Doesn’t need the ball. What [Calipari] said to me was, he was a great teammate, a wonderful teammate to have. When we talked to him, he had a level of maturity about him, a quietness about him that we really liked. I saw him play two or three times and a number of film sessions. There were three or four or five guys in the mix. He was actually ahead of the 14th pick” [on our draft board]. We feel he’s going to be a special player.”