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NBA Draft Profile: Bam Adebayo

Adebayo will be one of the most athletic players on the board late into the first round.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional-Kentucky vs North Carolina Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Tick tock. The 2017 NBA Draft is just nine days away and the Portland Trail Blazers must decide how to use their three first-round picks (15, 20, 26). Could Kentucky big man Bam Adebayo be the right selection for them?

Edrice “Bam” Adebayo

  • Height: 6’10”
  • Weight: 243
  • Wingspan: 7’2.75”
  • Shoots: Right
  • Position: PF/C
  • Age: 19 (20 in July)
  • Projected draft range: 22-35

2016-17 Statistics

  • PPG: 13.0 | Per 40: 17.3
  • RPG: 8.0 | Per 40: 10.6
  • APG: 0.8 | Per 40: 1.1
  • BLK: 1.5 | Per 40: 2.0
  • STL: 0.7 | Per 40: 0.9


Adebayo is a physical specimen at nearly 250 pounds with just 5.2 percent body fat, and that is reflected in his game. He is an incredibly agile big man that can time his leaps to clean the offensive glass as well as catch lobs in the pick-and-roll. Finishing through contact is not a problem for him. Perhaps his greatest strength is using his power to box out and flush putback dunks. Regardless of NBA destination, expect to see him play well above the rim in transition and bully smaller opponents in the halfcourt offense. Defensively, Adebayo is quick enough to guard multiple positions, close out on shooters, and run the floor. He can be most accurately defined as an energy big or power player.


Adebayo may be quick, but his defensive instincts are poor overall. He is often looking the wrong way, late to rotate, out of position, or in the wrong stance. One would not describe him as fundamentally sound, though, supposing he were, he would not be available late into the first round. The offensive end is not much better for him. Adebayo displays sub-par vision when it comes to finding his teammates and he is a limited scorer outside of the paint. His jump shot is mechanically passable, but too slow to be effective when contested. There is little to suggest that he makes his teammates better, outside of creating second chance opportunities.

2016-17 Season

The Kentucky Wildcats decimated the majority of their opponents, as is the norm for the traditionally talent-packed school. Adebayo was a big part of their SEC Championship win, but, perhaps more importantly, was a rebounding monster in the NCAA tournament, where the Wildcats lost to the eventual champion North Carolina Tar Heels by two points in the Elite Eight. He declared for the draft for the draft 10 days after the loss.

Overall Assessment

The physical tools are there for Adebayo to be successful at the next level, but is the motor? He bottoms out as an energy big, so there will be a place for him somewhere whether or not he starts playing smarter, but how quickly he adapts to the NBA will depend largely on coachability, which is fair to question. Sometimes raw prospects work out really well on the right team, and he has said that although he was not often utilized outside the paint in college, he is comfortable shooting out to 17 feet and wants to shoot threes. He may be the most notable ‘boom or bust’ candidate to hover between the first and second round on the draft board, with a high ceiling, low floor, and lots of muscle.

Overall Fit

When I spoke with Bam about his fit with the Trail Blazers on Saturday, he highlighted his comfort in the pick-and-roll and ability to defend multiple positions—two things the Blazers could use more of—but also seemed willing to mesh in whichever way Portland needs. Like many others, he would likely land in the backup center rotation if drafted by the Trail Blazers. His skillset is similar to that of Ed Davis, but he is younger, cheaper, and more powerful—if less polished. He may not be a bad option if Portland wants to get more athletic behind Jusuf Nurkic, who arrived out of shape last February before fracturing his right fibula.

Fun Fact

Adebayo received the nickname “Bam Bam” from his mother, who witnessed him lift a coffee table while watching The Flintstones at a very young age.

Do you want Adebayo in a Trail Blazers jersey next season? Which player would you like us to analyze next? Tell us in the comments below.