Bam Adebayo is a long shot to start the All-Star Game, but the Heat center is confident that he belongs there, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Adebayo was outside the top 10 among Eastern Conference frontcourt players in the latest round of fan voting, which accounts for 50% of the final total. Coaches will choose the seven reserves in each conference, with the selections being announced February 2.
Adebayo has a strong case for All-Star consideration, averaging career highs with 21.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game while anchoring Miami’s defense. He dismisses the results from the fans, but believes the coaches understand how good he is.
“I’m going to be (upset) about if they tell me somebody else has played better than me this year considering I’m leading the NBA in paint points and I’m one of the reasons why we’re winning,” Adebayo said. “So for me, it’s just that fan voting is fan voting. I’ll let that be. But when it comes to coaches voting, that’s when I feel like I deserve to be in it.”
There’s more from Miami:
- Haywood Highsmith earned extended minutes with his performance in Tuesday’s win over the Celtics, Chiang states in a separate story. The third-year small forward has excelled with Jimmy Butler battling injuries, and he put up 15 points and 10 rebounds off the bench against Boston. “H played so well, I just couldn’t take him out of the game,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Those are the kind of things that you want from a head coaching standpoint. Make us play you because you’re playing so hard and you’re making so many things happen.”
- The Heat weren’t expecting to use Max Strus as a starter this season, but injuries have forced him into that role, Chiang adds. Strus has started 25 of the 47 games he has played, including Tuesday night when Butler was a late scratch. “You could look at it either positively or negatively,” Spoelstra said. “That’s why I tell him, ‘Isn’t this what you’ve always wanted? To come in there and play a big role whether you’re coming off the bench or starting. What else could you want?’ I think that’s great to be able to plug and play in a lot of different roles.”
- The lower back tightness that prevented Butler from playing against the Celtics occurred during pre-game warmups, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel.