With the Miami Heat on hiatus, it gives us a ton of time to appreciate the little things and other things that aren’t game related. Here’s to appreciation.
Just a few days removed from Miami Heat team president Pat Riley‘s birthday, it has us thinking about The Godfather of Biscayne and the NBA. When thinking about some of his greatest accomplishments, you have to start with the titles as a coach and executive, the many gems he has recognized, mined, and turn into household names, and the teams he’s built from dust that go on to do some of the greatest things.
One of those particular feats that we have in mind today revolves around the current iteration of your Miami Heat basketball team. While some may look at the team and see a group of collective yet feisty guys who have come together to overachieve, we see another Pat Riley masterpiece. Join us as we use this example to give you just a few more reasons why Riles is the G.O.A.T.
While you could start with that guy, we will save him for last because that is dual-layered in its excellence. Let’s look at the auxiliary parts first.
As you all should know by now, we believe that Tyler Herro was the third-best draft-eligible player to go in last year’s NBA draft. Not only didn’t Riley have to move up to three to get him, but he landed the smooth sharpshooting combo guard from Kentucky with the 13th overall pick.
Moving further, Coach Erik Spoelstra has been telling us that Duncan Robinson was a dynamic shooter and that he was coming for at least a year now and boy, was he right. While he was right, Pat Riley had to have known, be apart of, or perhaps even led the process to bring him into the fold. It’s paid off big time as Duncan has not only become a preeminent NBA three-point threat, but arguably the best shooter in the league.
Bam Adebayo hadn’t exploded through the box in previous years, but Pat Riley knew what he had and implored us to remain patient. One year and a Hassan Whiteside later, Bam Adebayo is not only a star in this league, the second-best player on his team, and proving everyone wrong or right about him, but he actually became an All-Star and was probably well on his way to a Most Improved Player award for this season.
You can look all over the roster, from Kendrick Nunn to Derrick Jones Jr. or from Meyers Leonard to Chris Silva among others, Pat Riley has found ways to make this roster exactly what it is, a special one capable of great things.
Nevermind the facts that he took a guy we all love (Shoutout to Justise!), but who wasn’t producing because he wasn’t playing and turned him into three veterans who can not only still produce at a high level, but only add to the culture because of their work ethics, makeup, and ways of going about things in Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder, and Solomon Hill.
Lastly, when talking about that guy, our favorite hothead in Jimmy Butler, things become that much more fascinating. First off is the fact that Riley was able to turn Josh Richardson into Jimmy Butler. We loved J-Rich and most of us still do, however, that wasn’t an even swap and we won if you know what I mean.
The second part that makes that move so great is the fact that through all the ridicule, through all the “just coming to party” or “to retire” jokes, and through all the other roadblocks that could have halted the deal, Riley saw it as clear as day. Not only was Jimmy Butler a guy that just oozed Miami Heat Culture, but he was a guy who could come and single-handedly have a championship type impact on the team and franchise.
While Riley may have promised Butler that he would be all-in on bringing him help as soon as he could, Riles must have been able to see that Butler himself and alone, would be able to help the Miami Heat reach the levels they had reached prior to the NBA temporarily (hopefully, we pray to the basketball gods) suspending play.
The Miami Heat went from basketball purgatory, being too good to lose enough for a high draft pick and too bad to contend seriously, to being a contender all in one offseason. This has been on the back of Jimmy Butler’s toughness and strong will, while also off the strength of Riley’s wisdom.
Those are just a few more reasons how Pat Riley continues to prove he’s the G.O.A.T. He’s still playing chess, while everyone else plays checkers, or dominos in Little Havana.