Blog Entry

Four options for Riley

Posted on: November 29, 2010 6:42 pm
So there's trouble in paradise, but what happens next? Here's a look at Pat Riley's options as he tries to turn his Super Team into a team that can actually function:

* Fire Erik Spoelstra and take his job: As Phil Jackson said, it's SVG 2.0. The problem is, sources say Riley would only come downstairs as a last resort because A) he really doesn't want to coach anymore, and B) he knows that the same roster flaws that are sabotaging Spoelstra would do the same to him. Also, this isn't exactly Dwyane Wade's idea of a solution; Wade and Riley butted heads in the past. Personally, I think it would be eye-opening for LeBron James to be coached by someone with experience and championship rings -- someone who could put him in his place.

* Fire Spoelstra and hire someone else: This would be the ultimate sign of how wing-heavy and flawed this supposed dynasty really is: Riley fires Spoelstra, his handpicked protégé, and hands the job to ... Ron Rothstein? Well, that's not going to happen. But really, who's out there? Mike Brown? LeBron's been down that road in Cleveland, and the road ends in a spectacular, five-car pileup in the playoffs. Mike Woodson? For what, to run an even less creative offense?'s Matt Moore mentions two intriguing coaches who are currently unemployed: one credible (Jeff Van Gundy) and one straight out of Frankenstein (Don Nelson). I believe JVG is done coaching; he has a much easier and better job making fun of Mike Breen on TV. Plus, I can't imagine him doing that to his brother, Stan, in Orlando. Nellie? If someone could get him out of his hammock in Maui, they should make this happen tomorrow. Why? Not because it makes sense or the Heat would finally figure out how to play together and win a championship. Who cares about that? It should happen because the Earth would shift, the island would move, blinding lights and screeching noises would overwhelm us ... yes, it would be the basketball version of "Lost." Nellie, the connoisseur of ill-fitting basketball parts, chowing down on this disjointed beast of a team in Miami? It would be delicious on so many levels. If the Heat hired Nellie, I might move to Miami just so I wouldn't miss a minute of the hilarity.

* Stick with Spoelstra for the season and then score a coaching free-agent coup: Sadly, this is the most realistic of the options so far. If Riley really wants no part of this, then he could make it right with another offseason of roster tweaks and a chance to make a run at two very good coaches whose contracts will be up: Nate McMillan and Doc Rivers. McMillan is a fine coach, but I don't think he's the right fit for LeBron and Wade for the same reasons Spoelstra isn't the right fit: too upright and too averse to up-tempo offensive basketball. Speaking of which, Mike D'Antoni always seems to be a three-game losing streak away from being on the hot seat, even though he's spent the majority of his Knicks tenure coaching a D-League team. So if James Dolan ever has the urge to fire D'Antoni, I'd hire him in Miami in about three seconds. For one thing, D'Antoni would get to coach the two players he thought he'd be coaching in New York, only in a warmer climate. For another, I bet he'd enjoy paying no state income tax and saying good-bye to $7,000-a-month real estate tax bills in Westchester County. And finally, D'Antoni was the right coach for LeBron and Wade all along. He'd loosen the reins, let LeBron run the point and be Magic Johnson, and outscore everybody 130-117. But the most intriguing coach in this scenario, by far, is Rivers, who has the patience, presence, and pedigree to give LeBron and Wade just enough leeway while also commanding their respect. Plus, Florida is home for him, and any time you can trade an old Big Three for a younger version and cement your legacy as one of the most decorated coaches of all time, I'd say that would be a pretty good career move.

* Tell LeBron and Wade to quit whining, look in the mirror and figure it out: Of all the intriguing options, I like this one the best. To be fair, it isn't just the players who have to adjust; Spoelstra will have to change, too, by putting the ball in LeBron's hands and getting him in transition and in the open floor to create -- for Wade, for Eddie House and Mike Miller (once healthy). LeBron holds the key to this approach. He's the one player on the roster -- perhaps the only one in the league -- with the breadth of talents to adjust his game and make it fit with an elite scorer like Wade. I don't think Wade is built that way. He scores; that's what he does. LeBron can do it all, and he can do so much more than what he's doing now if he'd check his ego and if Spoelstra would be willing to give up some control. It's a slippery slope, but more promising than the one the Heat are currently sliding down.

Since: Aug 27, 2008
Posted on: November 30, 2010 8:47 am

Four options for Riley

I would bet anything that Pat Riley is thinking:  If I had just kept Dwayne Wade and signed Bosh, think of all of the money I would have had to add legitimate players to complete my roster around those two.  Instead I've got 3 huge expensive players that don't fit together at all.  The nail in Miami's coffin will be if the new CBA implements a hard cap.  I still could see those three working out and Miami talenting their way to the Finals possibly, but I just don't know with all of that garbage that surrounds the big 3.  That's why it was only those 3 at the introduction, it was like they took 3 Varsity all-stars and surrounded them with a bunch of modified level scrubs.  Not a winning formula IMHO.  I think T-Mac was dead on in his analysis that D-Wade and LBJ don't do well on the court together because they both demand the ball to do their thing.  I almost wonder if at some point that one or the other has to go.  If that happens, which one will it be?

Since: Jul 2, 2009
Posted on: November 30, 2010 8:00 am

Four options for Riley

But I thought this was the team that might not even lose 1 game this year?????

Heres the solution,  go hire phil jackson.  He is used to coaching the most talented teams.

Since: Jan 16, 2010
Posted on: November 30, 2010 7:55 am

Four options for Riley

Thanks Navy great article. I always like LBJ on the decision did not watch it, was not going sit watch an hour long program to hear 1 sentenceof where he was going. Now here is something nobody has brought up, everyone is talking about ther lack of team chemistry IMO is all started back when the big 3 had ther hip hop like concert annoucing them, my question is where was the rest of the team? those 9 other players must of felt like the last player drafted in the NFL Mr. Irrelevant

Since: Aug 27, 2008
Posted on: November 30, 2010 7:09 am

Four options for Riley

Maybe Berger would like to learn something about good journalism.  The following article is one of the most accurate and straight-forward articles I have ever read.  When someone writes something that makes you say:" I didn't really consider that, but that's about as straight to the heart of the matter as it could be" you know you read a great article.  Take a minute to check it out.

I'm past LeBron hating at this point, I just think this is dead-on.  Especially the final statement about how it will all be viewed in the end.

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: November 30, 2010 5:27 am

Four options for Riley

Step 1- Lebron and Wade stop whining and look in the mirror. Step 2 and this may not happen this year- get a decent PG and post player and if money allows- add depth.

Since: Feb 11, 2008
Posted on: November 30, 2010 1:19 am

Four options for Riley

Yeah, I don't think Doc Rivers is going to be coaching the Miami Heat anytime soon. Last I checked, the Celtics are still doing great (top of the East, anyone?). And if he did leave the Celtics, it would probably be to go watch his son play ball with Duke. 

There's only a few solutions to this mess, and a coaching change isn't one of them. Sure, a coach might help, but in the long run it won't matter. The Heat are super weak in their bigs, and their bench in general. And the teammwork isn't there. Only time and work can bring this team to championship-level...

Since: Sep 27, 2007
Posted on: November 30, 2010 12:58 am

Four options for Riley

I stop reading your comment after you said Lebron wasn't a talented passer.

Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: November 29, 2010 11:11 pm

Four options for Riley

I'd argue that you haven't seen enough of Magic Johnson to see the potential comparison. While Lebron isn't a talented passer, having him bring up the ball puts a lot pressure on opposing defenses in transition. As you obviously have seen how much killer Lebron can be on the fast break. He's explosive for his size and almost impossible to defend in transition. Teams have a better chance doubling up on Lebron when he's not moving.

Wade is playmaker, and he doesn't need the ball in his hands to make things happen. All he has to do is come around a screen and he's got defenses attention, because his shot is golden or his drive is a foul call in his favor.

Bosh is odd man out and I think putting Lebron in PG would help Bosh because Lebron would be looking to dump it off to him for easy dunk.

Even if they made these changes, the Heat still need to figure out how to rebound and defend.   

Since: Nov 29, 2010
Posted on: November 29, 2010 10:46 pm

Four options for Riley

On Doc Rivers....... "cement your legacy as one of the most decorated coaches of all time"
Last I checked Doc has one title to his name as a coach!  Better get a lot of cement!
Wake me up when he gets to the Popovich level!

Since: May 31, 2009
Posted on: November 29, 2010 10:30 pm

Four options for Riley

Im a life long Heat fan in Miami and pretty much disagree with everything in this article.  JVG isnt coaching a team he's pretty much ripped since the team was put together and the others (aside from Rivers) should not even be considered no matter how much worse the situation gets...D'Antoni and Don Nelson???  PLEASE.  &nbs
p;However, the part I disagree with most is making Lebron the PG.  He has shown no ability to run the point.  Just because he is a good passer and can dribble doesnt make you a have to create a flow, and I've never seen Lebron do that in a half court offense.  Wade clearly posseses more of a "i can do anything" type of game (i.e. most closely related to a Jordanesque type game).  The person writing this article doesnt seem to have have watched enough of Lebron or Wade to really make an eduacated suggestion of what their roles should be....or he doesnt have a good eye for basketball.... 

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