De'Aaron Fox knew former Kentucky teammate Bam Adebayo was destined for big things.
The Kings guard didn't think the Miami Heat big man would put it together this quickly, though.
"I mean, I knew Bam was gonna be this good, but I can't say, like, I thought he'd be an All-Star in Year 3," Fox said last week on "The Old Man & The Three" podcast.
Adebayo has taken a huge leap this season. The 23-year-old averaged career highs in points (15.9), rebounds (10.2), assists (5.1), blocks (1.3) and steals (1.1) per game during the regular season, and Adebayo arguably has been even better in the playoffs. He upped his scoring (18.5 points) and rebounding (11.4) averages in the postseason, leading the Heat to a surprise run to the NBA Finals alongside Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic and the rest of Miami's talented young core.
Fox and Malik Monk, another Kentucky teammate, used to always joke about Adebayo's clear desire to be a guard. Although Adebayo, in Fox's estimation, has been "built like a grown man" since the two were in eighth grade, Fox said his former teammate took every opportunity he could to bring the ball up the floor.
Adebayo, standing 6-foot-9 and weighing 255 pounds, has the versatility to make that desire a reality in the NBA. He really is only scratching the surface of his potential.
"He can do anything," Fox said. "He can guard all five. He can grab a rebound, bring it down the court, be a playmaker. Obviously, we know how strong and athletic he is."
Fox also made huge strides in his third NBA season, and he has a big backer in new Kings general manager Monte McNair. The Kings have a long way to go to joining the Heat among the league's elite, but Fox wants to be part of the solution in Sacramento.
If Fox can keep playing like he did during the restarted season in Orlando, it might not be long before Fox is viewed the same way he reveres Adebayo.