Any time you get a player that’s nickname originated from picking up a coffee table at one year old, it will be fairly interesting. Bam Adebayo is a highly touted big man out of the University of Kentucky. He, along with De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, carried the Wildcats to the Elite Eight, and got them one shot away from the Final Four. While he will not get picked in the top 10 like Fox or Monk, he does offer significant size and strength in the pick range of 15-25 for teams with upcoming needs for big men.
On the surface, Bam has less than ideal height, topping out at 6’10”, but really being closer to 6’9″. He has a tremendous 7’2″ wingspan and a max (running start) vertical of 38.5″, both above average for Centers. These tools will help maximize his potential once in the pros.
As far as his game goes, he has some potential for an outside shot, but not enough to make him lethal. He managed to play 38 games for Kentucky in his lone season and averaged 30 minutes with 13 points and 8 rebounds a game. He also shot 60% using primarily post moves and cuts to the basket off of feeds from Fox and Monk. His rebounding average is significant for 30 minutes a game with a 30 second shot clock. Watching his tape, his rebounding ability seems innate, and his game is incredibly similar to that of Tristan Thompson.
Unfortunately, Bam has a long list of weaknesses, the first being that as of now he is unable to stretch any defense and create inside scoring opportunities for guards and wings. He also only averaged 1.5 blocks a game, not ideal for a player in a league where rim protection is a flat-out necessity. He also lacks great instincts and awareness around the basket, another necessity for a league where big men are primarily focused on rebounding and shot blocking.
Because of his NBA-ready strength, he will probably be picked in the top 20 range. Fortunately, most of his weaknesses are coachable and can make him a dominant force in this league for many years to come.
In terms of a fit for him, the Trail Blazers occupy picks No. 15 and 20. Portland has recently searched for an effective big and traded for injury prone Jusuf Nurkic. Another decent fit can be seen in Indiana at pick 18 where Thaddeus Young is aging and they are trying to mold Myles Turner into a lengthy Power Forward.
Thankfully for Adebayo, he will get the benefit of the doubt from most NBA teams because of his leaping ability and strength, as well as the decent track record for Kentucky big men. (Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Karl Anthony-Towns, and Julius Randle, to name a few.)