Tag: Juwan Howard

The Detroit Pistons against the Miami Heat 03/22/2013

Heat announce hiring of Juwan Howard as assistant coach


Juwan Howard has been a member of the Miami Heat for the past three seasons, although last year he appeared in just seven games for the team, all in the regular season.

Howard’s impact was made with his veteran presence, most notably in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals versus the Pacers when he lit into his teammates at halftime, helping to produce the desired result.

In essence, Howard was more of a de facto assistant coach in his final year with the Heat than he was a contributing player. Management apparently recognized his ability in that area, as they’ve hired him to be an assistant coach working in a player development role, beginning next season.

The team announced Howard’s hiring, as well as some other shuffling of front office personnel, in an official release on Saturday.

Howard played 19 seasons in the NBA for nine different franchises. His second year in the league was his best statistically — in 1996 with the then-Washington Bullets, Howard averaged 22.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists in 40.7 minutes per game, while making his only career All-Star appearance.

Greg Oden on joining the Heat: ‘If LeBron gets another ring, I get one too’

oden heat

Greg Oden had plenty of options in terms of where he could choose to begin his NBA comeback next season.

There were five teams that came away impressed after attending his private workout, and a sixth was reported to have interest, as well.

Oden ultimately decided on the Miami Heat, and the team’s status as championship certified certainly didn’t hurt in the recruiting process. In fact, it may have been one of the key selling points.

From Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

“As I told my friends, actually, as they told me, ‘If you take out the possibility of getting hurt again, what other choice is there?’ ” Oden said. “For me, other teams, it was good. But if I take out the possibility of getting hurt, why would I not play with the champs? And, as [friends] told me yesterday, ‘If LeBron decides to get another ring, I get one, too, now.”

And it’ll be well-deserved, I’m sure.

All kidding aside, the reality is that there are a ton of guys with championship rings who did nothing more than act as an extra body in practice, or were simply inactive during the games that mattered while wearing a suit and sitting at the end of the bench.

Juwan Howard is an example from the Heat last season — he played just seven games total in March and April, and didn’t appear in the postseason even once.

Oden’s comments will likely rub people the wrong way, however, because he’s talking about getting a ring before we even know if he’ll be able to contribute at all next season in Miami, let alone in the playoffs or the Finals.

The good news for Oden is that the Heat seemed to add him to the roster for one reason only, and that’s to have another big body to throw at Roy Hibbert in the event they face the Pacers once again on the potential road to a third straight title. The Heat don’t truly need Oden until May, so he has all season and then some to continue work his way back into NBA condition.

But most people would like players to talk about how they are going to help a team before they talk about riding a star’s coattails to get a ring that wasn’t earned, and comments like these aren’t likely going to endear him to fans who otherwise might have rooted for him to successfully return to the court next season.

You can keep talking about changes Miami should make, Ray Allen says team not listening

Miami Heat Victory Parade And Rally

The Miami Heat won 27 games in a row during the regular season, finishing the year with 66 wins and the best record in the NBA. They were pushed to seven games twice, but they are now the back-to-back NBA Champions.

So it was a little stunning in the wake of the Heat win to hear so much talk about what the Heat need to change to keep winning. Granted, they showed cracks in the armor, and yes a lot of that is tied to the fact LeBron James can opt out next summer. But still this is the team firmly entrenched on the top of the NBA mountain and a lot of people focused right past that.

Not the guys in the locker room. They are not listening to all that talk, Ray Allen told ProBasketballTalk.

“That’s probably the single most thing we try stay away from is what people think we need to do, or whether this is that is happening during a game,” Allen said. “We won 27 games in a row this season and they always found a reason why we weren’t good enough, why we couldn’t do this. Then it became must see TV after a while where people tuned in, where some people were rooting for us to lose and other people rooting for us to continue to go because it’s a great story. A great sports story. Something that’s historic that people will talk about for a long time.

“But at the end of the day it was stories that we didn’t really need to follow because we were the ones that were creating the stories. That’s all we want, to give people a reason to talk about us because we won.”

The volume of that noise around the Heat is going to go up next season because LeBron James is going to be asked in every city about his plans for the following summer — and when he dodges the question reporters will ask his teammates about LeBron.

Allen said he thinks this team can keep those distractions at bay.

“I think it’s pretty easy,” Allen said. “It depends the guys that you’re dealing with. We have a mature group of guys, very veteran group of guys that are about family, their own family. Most guys on the team have multiple kids that they have to raise. Your focus is sometimes so much in their direction you don’t have time to do things, just play basketball and go home and take care of the kids.

“So when we come to the locker room we talk about the kids and joke about small little things that they do. We don’t worry about the other things that are inconsequential.”

And the Heat believe they can three-peat.

“I have no doubt,” Allen said. “Obviously the league changes and they adjust to what we do, so in some form or fashion we have to improve what we’re doing. Whether that’s individually, some of the things we do offensively or defensively, there’s something every year that always needs to change. You can’t stand pat when the rest of the league gets better.”

However, the Heat largely have stood pat. The only expected roster change is Juwan Howard being released and replaced by a guy who will likely play just about as much (which is to say almost never).

Allen is back to his day-to-day summer life as a father. His son has diabetes so both father and son are in Washington this week to lobby for the Special Diabetes Program – legislation focused on multi-year funding of Type 1 diabetes research.

Allen will testify before congress this week about the impact of the disease and the need for longer-term funding to find a cure. In this setting is one place his celebrity is an advantage — Allen and his wife have done a number of public service announcements with Walker, and they are personally involved in the cause.

“I just tell (the congressmen and women) a little bit about who we are as a family and who Walker is,” Allen said. “Basically giving a human side to the story — diabetes is not just a word or a disease, there are people who fight every day to keep their children alive. There are families all across America like that.

“I’m just a dad just trying to make sure his son gets the proper care that he deserves and hope that one day they find a cure. It just so happens that I do have a high profile job and I walk into a room of high profile people and let them know this what I deal with regardless of what I’m dealing with professionally.”

There will be a lot to deal with professionally next season, but Allen said he still trying to savor that title run because it was a hard mountain to climb.

“It was extremely satisfying,” Allen said of the second title. “Just a year removed I was thinking I could have been retired, even before last year, because, you know, I played a long time. At that point I had 16 years in and at some point you got to say when is enough enough? But I’ve taken such great care of my body, and taking care of my game and being on point. Having left Boston and being in Miami, there was so much uncertainty, you don’t know how it’s going to happen, to have won is just extremely satisfying.”

Pat Riley says don’t expect big changes in Heat roster

Miami Heat President Riley reacts after he was introduced during a celebration at the American Airlines Arena after the Heat's NBA Basketball Championship parade in Miami

Yes, there are questions about Dwyane Wade and if his game is in decline (and how fast he is going down that hill). Yes, there are questions about Chris Bosh’s role within the offense and his value to the team, particularly relative to the big checks he cashes.

But don’t think the Pat Riley is breaking the Heat up.

They are back-to-back NBA Champions and have been to three straight finals, it’s premature to make major moves.

That’s what Riley said, speaking to the Miami Herald.

“I don’t like to change that much, not when you’re winning,” said Riley, who pointed out that Bosh made five plays in the span of 20 to 30 seconds at the end Game 6 to keep the Heat alive in the NBA Finals.

When the team reconvenes in late September, Riley said he hopes 14 of the roster spots to be filled by players who were under contract in the 2013-14 season — the one exception being Juwan Howard, who likely will be replaced by a free agent.

That means they plan to bring back Chris Andersen, but we will see what other teams will offer the Birdman, who is a free agent.

What Riley expects internal improvement to help carry the team.

“We need to improve,” Riley said. “Erik [Spoelstra] and I have already had two conversations about … because we’re a little older, they have to come back leaner, lighter, stronger, quicker and faster, so when you get a little bit older, you’ve got to dedicate yourself to diet and conditioning and training and becoming a better player skill-wise.”

Expect them to make a move to get a little bigger to match up with the Pacers and Bulls, guys like Samuel Dalembert or Jermaine O’Neal are out there.

But the Heat are not making any bold moves this summer. The summer after that… we’ll see.

Heat survive most pressure-packed season of all time


LeBron James wandered around the American Airlines Center court in an apparent stupor – receiving congratulatory handshakes hugs and from Spurs players, surviving a bear hug from Juwan Howard and sharing a moment with Gregg Popovich.

If LeBron looked tired, it’s because he was.

LeBron said he couldn’t sleep the night before Game 7 victory, and he couldn’t fall asleep the afternoon of the game as he usually does, either.

“You’re nervous. You’re excited,” LeBron told NBA TV. “You’ve got anxiety.”

MORE: LeBron ‘stuck with it,’ named 2013 Finals MVP

But LeBron and the Heat overcame that burden, merely their latest in an exhausting three years, and now they have another championship.

The Heat’s challenges were deeper than just a sleepless night and a restless afternoon. No team has faced more pressure in NBA history, and the weight on LeBron’s shoulders was even heavier.

Of course, the Heat brought a lot of it on themselves. From “The Decision” to “Not two, not three, not four…,” LeBron drew even more scrutiny to what would have already been a controversial choice to team with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.

The Heat took their lumps, falling to the Mavericks in the 2011 Finals. And that was especially difficult to endure, considering the Heat received more media attention than any North American professional team ever has. Media outlets completely reorganized their coverage plans to devote more resources to the Heat beat.

MORE: LeBron, Wade stick together to win another title

Miami survived the gauntlet in year two, winning the title. Though that should have ended issues it didn’t – has any NBA champion, let alone a Finals MVP, received more questions about whether he can win the big one than LeBron did this year? – it brought a new level of difficulty.

“The second one is way harder than the first one,” LeBron told NBA TV. “I heard a lot, after I won my first one, they was like, ‘You know, they’re going to start getting easier and easier and easier.’ Absolutely not true. Absolutely not true. This was the hardest one by far.”

Not only were expectations higher and media attention greater, Miami leaned on a blitzing defensive system that, while effective, was physically exhausting. A 27-game regular-season win streak became mentally exhausting too, requiring the Heat to bring a tighter focus than most contenders summon in the dog days of February and March.

MORE: ‘Game 7 is always going to haunt me,’ Duncan says

The win streak also created unreasonable expectations that the Heat could cruise through the playoffs. In reality, Miami need 23 postseason games to outlast the field, a total topped just eight times before. Any thought this was going to be easy was delusional, but perhaps nobody realized how tough the Heat’s road would get near its end.

They could have succumbed after losing Game 3 of the Finals by 36 points – no team that suffered a 35-point loss in the Finals had ever won the series – but they didn’t.

They could have succumbed when they fell behind 3-2 San Antonio – they hadn’t won back-to-back games in the previous month – but they didn’t.

They could have succumbed when they entered Game 7 – San Antonio had never trailed in a Finals series, and only the 1988 Lakers had won two Game 7s as deep into the playoffs as the Heat, which also beat the Pacers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals – but they didn’t.

After surviving their final challenge, the Heat celebrated their championship, and Doris Burke asked Wade what it took to reach this point.

“Everything,” Wade said. “It took everything we had as team.

“We’re a resilient team, and we did whatever it took.”

A few minutes later, LeBron, awoken from his stupor, stood in the locker room under a mist as steady as rain.

“I can’t see,” LeBron said squinting and grinning until someone got him a towel to wipe his eyes.

Several times this season, the Heat could drowned in the pressure, in the attention, in the physical exhaustion. But they never did, and now they’re swimming in champagne.