Pat Riley: Heat Are “Close” To Being Title Contenders

Heat president Pat Riley is delighted with the progress his team made this season and believes the organization is “close” to being at a championship level again, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Riley made the comments in a video released today, saying he hopes the league will find a way to salvage the playoffs so he can see the results of moves the team made at the trade deadline.

“I think we were (41-24) or something along those lines and headed to home-court advantage in the playoffs. It was a great year,” Riley said. “I’m really disappointed that we haven’t seen the finish, especially after we made the trade when we brought in Andre Iguodala, Solomon Hill and Jae Crowder. I thought that was going to give us a little bit of an edge going into the playoffs.”

Riley pinpointed the addition of Jimmy Butler in a sign-and-trade last summer for creating a lot of optimism for the new season. Another boost came from unexpected production by rookie guards Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn, along with second-year forward Duncan Robinson.

“I’m so happy that we turned a lot of things around and we found the right players,” Riley said, “the right mix of pick-and-roll players, guys that can post up and really found a couple of guys that can shoot the ball — really shoot the ball — so we’re happy for that and we’re really optimistic about moving forward into the future with these players.”

Riley touched on a few more topics during the video:

  • The Heat are running through scenarios for free agency, but everything is “up in the air” because of uncertainty over whether the season will resume. Miami has several important decisions to make, with new acquisitions Crowder and Hill both headed for free agency, along with Goran Dragic, Meyers Leonard, Derrick Jones Jr. and Udonis Haslem. In addition, Kelly Olynyk has a $13.2MM player option. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald suggests Riley’s comments are a sign that he will try to keep the team together instead of renouncing the free agents and operating under the salary cap (Twitter link).
  • There’s strong support around the league for finding a way to complete the season, Riley added. He said all 30 teams have been participating in conference calls with the commissioner’s office and players union to discuss strategies. “I think that’s a very important thing for all of the franchises, complete the season even if it moves on later,” Riley said. “I think we’re all right behind Adam Silver and him waiting until he launches us back into action.”
  • Riley was “stunned” when he learned that the season was being suspended in the wake of a positive coronavirus test by Jazz center Rudy Gobert, but ultimately believes it was the right decision. “We heard that a player from the Utah Jazz had tested positive,” Riley said. “But I didn’t think it was going to last that long or turn out to be what it is today for not only the Heat, but for everybody to have to shut it down. Shut the country down, shut the world down and try to fight this thing. So it was pretty innocent that night only from the standpoint that, ‘OK, we can take care of this and then we’ll be back.’ But I think Adam Silver made an incredible move, and that just sort of cascaded into a lot of other decisions by other teams and other sports and industries.”
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16 thoughts on “Pat Riley: Heat Are “Close” To Being Title Contenders

  1. KnickerbockerAl

    Heat have a good scouting team. They have found some gems. In draft and FA. Adebayo was a great pickup. Jimmy is one 3 best 2way players in game. Very impressed.

  2. mlbnyyfan

    Does anyone remember why Riley left the Knicks besides him realizing he couldn’t win with an aging team so he bolted for South Beach.

  3. swaggerbox

    it is not only how they found gems but how they develop them. heat scouts are good but coaching staff is better.

  4. imindless

    Butler is in his prime right now on a max deal, 1 maybe 2 years of playoff contention and he will start to regress. Currently they are not beating bucks or raptors or sixers for that matter. Quality team but nothing that screams title contender, sorry pat.

    • Exactly. Butler could be a great number 2 on a championship level team, but has proven he is emotionally unfit for that role. Their peak is the 3 seed in the East.

    • phillyballers

      Hes probably at the end of his prime. Year 3 and Year 4 may look drastically different production wise esp at 37M avg salary. But at least it’s not 44M and 47M like John Wall.

      COVID-19 impacts the Heat and the Lakers the most imho. Their best player is one with a lot of miles, wear and tear based on their playing style and in Jimmy’s case their previous coach likes to drive guys into the ground.

      Jimmy keeps himself in great shape, I like everyone else is expecting the wheels to fall off. I like him as a player tho, so hope he sustains his level throughout the contract.

  5. Simmons>Russ

    Sign/Resign Paul Millsap (2y/24mil), Goran Dragic (2y/24mil) Jae Crowder (3y/36mil) and Bismarck Biyambo (1y/2mil).

    Let Myers Leonard, Solomon Hill and DJJ walk in FA to free up the money. Then look to fill out the roster with who player who didn’t get drafted and are FA to pick up for cheap like they did with Nunn and some vets on the minimum.

    1. Nunn. Dragic.
    2. Butler. Herro.
    3. Robinson. Iggy. Okpala
    4. Millsap. Crowder. Silva
    5. Adebayo. Biyambo. Olynyk

    Looks like another solid, possibly top 4 team in the east. As Millsap, Butler and Iggy get older expect the young guys Adebayo, Herro, Nunn to have bigger roles

  6. Jeff Zanghi

    No offense to the Heat/Heat Fans but I really don’t think they’re all that close to being true contenders. I think they’re a very good regular season team (as evidence by their record) but I just don’t see the team, as currently comprised, as being a legit Finals contender. I mean just in the East alone I think there are 3/4 teams that easily beat them in a best of 7. Idk maybe I’m wrong and undervaluing them — but idk I just don’t see this team as being all that big of a threat in postseason play.

  7. Skip, Tampa

    Actually see the Heat talent wise in the same place as the Raptors, before getting Leonard and Gasol.
    Only with better young players right now.
    A Nunn, Olynik, 2020 1st for Arron Gordon makes alot of sense as well.

    • andremets

      Any team would skyrocket if you added Kawhi and Gasol. Imagine if the Pacers or Magic picked them up. As for the Heat, they look like a team that would be bounced in the 2nd round, the dreaded “good-but-not-great” situation. It sells tickets and makes folks feel good, but it puts you in the Utah Jazz death sentence.

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