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Pat Riley We Had An Absolutely Great Year
Time:2022-06-09 13:35 Click:

Miami HEAT President Pat Riley spoke to the assorted media a week after the teams loss in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Here are some of the highlights from his 45-minute press conference.

I thought we had an absolutely great year. It was a tremendous story that was developing. In a lot of stories the endings arent very good. But I thought we had a year that we could really be proud of. Doing what we did throughout the course of the season, overcoming a lot of adversity, and getting to the last 16 seconds of the seventh game of the Eastern Conference Finals is quite a feat. I was proud of the team. Proud of the coaches. I thought they did an incredible job. And I was sorry that it ended the way that it did.

ON POTENTIALLY RUNNING THE ROSTER BACK FOR NEXT SEASON

Even if we ran it back, we would have a very good team. You have to be very proactive in looking at how youre going to improve. This is a great story that started in 2019. In 27 years if weve had a start to a number of great stories, this is one of them when we signed Jimmy Butler and then started to build the team from there.

Youre caught in betwixt and in between right now with these young players that are rising. We think about [Jayson] Tatum and [Jaylen] Brown, where they were three or four years ago in their playoff runs. Once your younger players can elevate to the point that you know you can win with them, along with Jimmy and the other veteran guys, you can always think about running it back and be successful. But is that going to be whats going to lead to a championship? Thats all you think about.

ON THE IDEA OF ADDING A SECOND STAR SCORER

I think we all realize that you can always use more. Especially when youve gone through the season and then youve gotten the result. Then you really begin to analyze the result and why it wasnt as good as maybe you thought it should be.

Were always going to try and improve that team. I think thats what its about. Its about continually growing. Its about taking your hits, dealing with them and going home. Taking your wins and going home. Its 106 games that we played. And we did a lot of great things. I dont want to take away from what this team has done and these individuals.

Do we need another? If theres one out there, throw him to me. You can always use more, but its got to be a good fit. But not at the cost of doing something that could be prohibitive. We will look, we will explore. We always do this. Its part of the business that we chose. Whatever the result brings after the season, you might say we might need another this or another that based on how the league is playing. That goes into the equation.

ON INJURIES AND THE AGE OF THE ROSTER

Whether its a hamstring or a groin or a calf, guys are sitting out, missing time. It was untimely for us to have some of those at a time when you wanted everybody healthy. As far as the age of the roster, I think our roster is almost perfect from a real veteran age standpoint where players can play and can contribute. You have the middle group of guys that are starting to rise up, and then we got some young guys.

You have to be a little bit concerned about the injuries. When you have injuries that derail your opportunity. We had that in the bubble. It was a direct hit to Bam. That wasnt an injury of attrition, it was a direct hit to his arm and his shoulder. And then Goran got hurt. That hurt us. These soft tissue injuries hurt us, too. We still had a chance, you just sort of rise above it. Thats one of the great stories of this year. We did find out a lot of about other players, when they were put in position of having to play 25-35 minutes. It opens up your eyes to what the possibilities can be for them a year or two from there.

Theres this blend of when does it become perfect, and you never know when its going to become perfect until you win the championship and you say, that worked out at that time perfectly. Ive been through this a number of times. I like the team that we have. I like the core. Lets see where we can go internally, and lets see where we can go if something presents itself if thats a viable option.

His numbers speak for him and his game. Averaging 20 a game and really shooting the ball well. Developing a game that at times during the regular season was unstoppable. He can find and create his own shots in a lot of situations.

I dont think hes really here yet [reaches his hand above his head], as a full-time complete player. And I say that about a player who average 20 and shot 37-38 percent from three, can score in bunches, can score at the rim, can score on floaters, can score on pullups, can score on threes, gets out on the break. And hes 22. The next step for him, and I think were seeing this in the league, if you want to win a championship, you want to be a starter, you really have to become a two-way player today. You have to improve in certain areas of your game. We all know that at one time or another, teams will always put a target on Tylers back, Duncans back, Maxs back or somebody else that they think they can beat one-on-one on a switch. I saw improvement on defense this year. Hes got great feet, quick feet. He just needs to get stronger again. Another 10 pounds of muscle mass. He needs to get stronger rom a leverage standpoint.

As far as being a starter, come to training camp and win it. Sometimes its that easy. If he wants to be a starter, well see in October. Thats something that you earn. Theres no doubt he has the qualities to be that.

Hes a specialist. You cant win in this league without having them. You have to have some specialists.

But I saw improvement in his game now where hes going downhill. Hes got to turn the corner on handoffs and on pick-and-rolls and things of that nature because of being forced off the line. The next part of his development is going to the basket and finishing and making plays and being very aggressive that way. And we saw that this year.

Again, defensively, as a young player, hes got to get better. We hang our hat on that. Im not going to say that we lost a game because we had some horrendous three-point shooting games, or someone missed a three or whatever it is. If you dont guard all three areas of the court, if you dont guard the three-point line, if you dont guard two-point shots, if you dont guard at the elbow, if you dont guard at the rim, if you dont guard in transition. If you dont defend by rebounding, by taking charges and getting loose balls and winning that war every night, then youre always going to blame it on shooting. To me, yes Duncan can improve. That message has been delivered to him. But thats where we as a team have to win. We have to win defensively.

P.J. is like a cornerstone. He was like when [Udonis Haslem] was in his prime, even though UD wasnt a primary scorner, he did things throughout the course of a game that were significant.

Tuck is the kind of player that doesnt have to do a lot from a scoring standpoint, but he makes so many great plays for you. Toughness, rebounding, defense, no-nonsense guy. Id love to have Tuck back next year, hes part of our core. Well see what happens. Theres not enough like him in the league. Well there are, theres a lot of guys like him in the league, but hes special.

The bottom line with me, and for me, as far as hoping you can get the most out of a player, is that you have to be in world class shape. You just have to be. That is something, as you get older, there is a point of diminishing returns.

He definitely is going to have to address that. It will be addressed. To get to what the perfect overall conditioning is for him to be successful. He plays the game in a manner where he needs his strength and his size. Hes not Tyler Herro, hes not that lean kind of guy. He can be in better shape. I do think the pain of losing . . . might change his mind a little bit.

Hes been asked to do a lot of things as a young player and he has grown into being very efficient at doing those things. Its almost that learning curve of being a facilitating big, either at the elbow, on handoffs, on pick-and-rolls. Hes always getting somebody open. Duncan should pay him half his check, Tyler should pay him half his check, Max should pay him half his check. You dont realize what he does to get people open. A lot of that has to do with how other teams are playing him, dropping way back, and we can get that shot. Maybe we look for that a little bit too much.

This could be a year, and Spo and I will sit down a talk about it, about how can Bam be developed in a way to improve his consistent shot ability every night. Getting 15 shots every night, quality shots that he can get, he can create, whether its in the post or at the elbow. He can be very prolific at times, but it cant always be on effort, on running, on getting offensive rebounds, on lob dunks, on little floaters. I do think theres a part of him that can grow. That depends on a bit on your overall offensive philosophy and how much you want to change that. I think theres another level at his age now that we need more consistency in his ability to get good shots, create good shots, and scoring.

I definitely feel an obligation to finish this build. If were three years into this build, then I dont want to do another three years of just building this team. I think were in that window of internal improvement, we have a great, great player in Jimmy Butler. We know that. We have a lot of experienced veterans. We put together a team that got to the Eastern Conference Finals.

It was a bitter loss. The dragon hasnt left my body yet from that loss. I was stunned, I was frustrated, I was angry, I was all of those things over the last week and Im beginning to move on past all of that. I havent given [retirement] any thought at all. Im 77 years old and right now I can do more push-ups than you can do right now.

It changes with young players who all of a sudden, they think they hit it. The work ethic, from Gabe, Caleb, Max, all of our young guys that basically have played and helped us. They still have to come to training camp. His time on the court, whether its a rotational player, a spot player or a starter, it has to equate to winning. Its always about winning. You can play young players until youre blue in the face, but do you want to play them in the medieval late quarters of a playoff game. And they havent been there before.

I think Gabe is one of those guys. I think he has that in him. He has something about him as a competitor, as does Max, that I think eventually they can get there. Max found out that hes not a 40 percent shooter against the Celtics or Philadelphia, because theyre not going to give you that look. But he has a very unique game and a very unique shot.

Spo and I talk a lot about the stress now that defenses are putting on three-point shooters and how theyre running you down and staying with you on the line, making you go backdoor and making you work harder. You have to develop yourself as a complete player. You have to be able to go downhill. Max has to be able to go downhill and finish now. You have to be able to go downhill and make a pull-up jumper and make layups. His game has to change a little bit, and he knows this. I think they have the ability to do this. You have to create more offensive opportunities than be a sticker.

I Thought We Had An Absolutely Great Year. It Was A Tremendous Story That Was Developing - We Had A Year We Can Really Be Proud Of. Pat Riley End of Season Press Conference

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