Stepping forward at outset part of added offensive aggression from Heat’s Adebayo

MIAMI — No matter the team’s health and roster situation, a staple for the Miami Heat this season has been Bam Adebayo comes first.

The league leader in game-opening shot attempts entering the just completed 2-3 western swing, Adebayo took the Heat’s first shot in three of the five games, the ball in his hands on all five opening possessions.

Against the Golden State Warriors, it was a missed Adebayo eight-foot pullup shot 19 seconds in.

Against the Utah Jazz, it was a successful Adebayo five-foot jumper 23 seconds in.

Against the Los Angeles Clippers, Adebayo was forced to pass on the first possession after first looking for a shot, with Jamal Cain missing a jumper on what would have been an Adebayo assist.

Against the Los Angeles Lakers, Adebayo passed to Kyle Lowry, who made two free throws.

And against the Phoenix Suns, Adebayo missed a17-foot jumper 18 seconds in.

So, yes, a planned pattern, but not necessarily for Adebayo’s trademark midrange jumpers.

“It’s not necessarily all the time that we’re running plays for him,” said coach Erik Spoelstra, with the Heat opening a four-game homestand Monday night against the Houston Rockets at Kaseya Center. “I think it’s just more of a mentality to try to start establishing inside out. That doesn’t mean it won’t be a post up for him.

“I think everybody wants to get him involved, including the head coach. It helps us establish a tone for the game. But he’s going to get involved whether it is the first play or not.”

Related Articles

Adebayo said he embraces the opportunities.

“Yeah, I feel like it kind of sets the tone,” he said. “Obviously I’ve increased my touches, field-goal percentage, and assertiveness. And out of that, you come out to the game knowing this is a routine at this point.

“Obviously you want the first bucket to be a made bucket. Good, bad or indifferent, it’s just respect that your coach is living with you to make the first bucket.”

It also opens a window into the opposition’s defensive approach.

“Take the first possession, take our time, and see where you go from there,” Adebayo said.

For Adebayo, it typically is the start to a busy night, at career highs this season with his usage rate and his shots per game.

“He’s ultra-aggressive, and that’s what we want from him, to be aggressive, especially on that end,” guard Tyler Herro said after Monday morning’s shootaround. “He brings so much to the table. He’s so versatile, that he can attack and also make plays for others.”

Big G League numbers

It proved to be a big weekend for big G League numbers for those with the Heat’s affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Sunday, in a victory over the Utah Jazz affiliate, Heat offseason prospect Alondes Williams set a Skyforce record with 55 points, breaking the Skyforce record of 52 set by former NBA journeyman Scotty Hopson.

In his walk-off interview on the G League broadcast, Williams, who was with the Heat during summer league and training camp, said, “Man, I could always do it. Just another team talking crazy. I know how to get into an extra gear.”

Williams said he was motivated by players on the Salt Lake City Stars talking after blowing out to a 26-point lead. Williams also had eight rebounds and seven assists in the victory. He is available to be signed by any NBA team.

Also in that game, forward Cole Swider, who is on a Heat two-way contract, had 37 points, including 7 of 11 on 3-pointers.

Swider remains with the Skyforce.

Back with the Heat is center Orlando Robinson, who had 41 points in a Skyforce victory on Friday night over the New Orleans Pelicans’ affiliate.

“Winning games is my main priority.” Robinson said Monday of his G League stints, “and working on my own individual weaknesses. I try to focus on pick-and-roll defense, impacting the game off the ball, on the ball. And just do anything that impact winning.”

Robinson said word got back to him of Spoelstra’s praise of that effort.

“It’s very reassuring that things matter,” Robinson said after Monday morning’s shootaround, “even if the G League, some people don’t really care. But I’m glad that here, when I go down there they’re watching, they’re paying attention.”