Tag: Pat Riley coach

Super Bowl XLIV

Pat Riley says to “write off” idea he’ll replace Spoelstra


Some people are not going to believe him. In part because he canned a guy in a situation like this before. In part because some want it to be true.

But Pat Riley is not going to fire Erik Spoelstra and take over the team.

Riley (and apparently half the NBA scouting fraternity) was at the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden doing some draft prep work and Dave D’Alessandro of the Star-Ledger asked him directly about the rumors he’d fire Spoelstra.

“Write it off. Write it off. It’s the media being neurotic. It’s their need to make a story, create a story, and make that story come true. And that ain’t going to happen. Write it off. We’re just in a tough time right now, we’ll get through it.”

What about the Heat’s current struggles and five-game losing streak?

“I know they’ll get it. But everyone has to overreact to things right now. We’re going through some tough times and we will get through it. It’s like anything else, like I always say, the playoffs will tell. Everything else now is just rhetoric. And we’re getting ready for that time. And I don’t really care what position we play from.”

Riley also admitted what we all knew — they need another big man in the paint. Someone who can defend the rim and rebound.

Riley remains a fierce competitor. Because of that, do you really think he wants to take over a team he knows is flawed? So flawed it will be difficult to win a title this year?

Pat Riley is not coming back, nor should he. So stop asking.

Miami Heat Introduce LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade

Yes, the Miami Heat have some problems.

They have the surging Chicago Bulls ready to pass them for second in the East if the Bulls defeat the Heat Sunday in Miami. They have struggled against the league’s better teams and were embarrassingly lapped by the Spurs a few nights back. They are 14-17 against teams over .500. Their end of game execution has been sad.

Pat Riley is not the answer. Erik Spoelstra is not the problem (or at least the serious one).  Spoelstra’s defensive game plan did not say, “don’t close out on Spurs three-point shooters.” Question his end-of-game lineups if you want, but Spoelstra draws up plays that are not simply isolations to close out games.

The Heat’s problem right now are on the players not executing the plans they are given.

Riley has insisted since training camp he is done coaching and will not return to the bench. People around the team have said it would take a direct order from owner Micky Arison, and that is highly unlikely.

The other rumbling is that Riley doesn’t want to return to the bench with this team because he has known what Heat fans are learning the hard way now — this team is not yet ready to win a title. Not this season. It lacks a real inside presence on defense. It has little end-of-game comfort level among its stars. Things that will change over time, especially as Riley tweaks the roster. But right now, with this roster, there are question marks.

Pat Riley cannot just wave his championship-ring covered hand over this squad and solve those problems.

Michael Wallace at ESPN’s Heat Index reminds us that Riley had two very tough seasons on the bench after that 2006 title run. Frustrating seasons where the players tuned him out. One where they won 15 games. Those memories are inside his head next to the Heat title run season and make him question coming back.

Riley the coach would be cathartic to fans, as Wallace notes, but not the answer.

Riley has the professional credentials and personal fearlessness to call LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh out in public. He would get frustrated after a loss, go in to the post-game press conference and name names. He’d call the players out on a lack of effort and execution. He’d be a hard a–.

And it wouldn’t change anything. Right now, this Heat team’s cracks are showing. It does not look ready. And if that is to change it will come from the players, not a change of coaches.