For a guy who has only missed the playoffs four times in his tenure, Pat Riley seems pretty confident in his skills of rebuilding a torn down NBA roster.
Maybe five NBA titles as a head coach, and three NBA titles as an NBA executive will speak to that, but Riley has dealt with teams who predominantly had playoff success. He has not dealt with many times who are looking to get out of the bottom of the league.
Riley has dealt with teams who get out of mediocrity really fast. He bought low on Shaquille O’Neal when he demanded a trade from Los Angeles, which turned into a championship in 2006, and signed LeBron James and Chris Bosh after a mediocre year. You could say he brings success quickly one way or another.
After an off season that saw Dwyane Wade, arguably the greatest Miami Heat player of all time, leave the organization due to free agency, people in Miami knew this would be a different type of season for the Heat.
With what looks to be a rebuilding type of year, Pat Riley spoke to the media to address how the team and organization will be moving towards a more successful future.
““We’re dealing with that word that you hate to use — that we have to rebuild,” Riley told WQAM’s Joe Rose on his radio show Wednesday morning. “But we will rebuild quick. I’m not going to hang around here for three or four years selling this kind of song to people in Miami. We have great, great fans. They’re frustrated. They’ve been used to something great over the last 10 years and so right now we’re taking a hit. I think we can turn this thing around. … You can use that word rebuild. But we’re going to do it fast.”
Its tough to get a read on what Riley is stating here. When it comes to a quick rebuild, you would expect a team to sign a lot of free agents and spend all of the money in the world. This year, the Heat could go in a different route, which could presumably be tanking. Take tanking with a grain of salt because the Heat have a lot of talent on their roster, they are just young.
Justise Winslow and Hassan Whiteside are some of the young core they look to move forward with, and what better way to add to that than through the draft. Miami has its own first-round pick in what projects to be a loaded draft, and also own the Suns two future first round picks in the coming years.
Opportunities can be made through the draft.
The Heat have some decisions to make if they want to make this quick rebuild like Pat Riley referenced. It is not easy to rebuild quickly because that usually means freeing up a lot of cap space while drafting high. But most teams drafting high usually don’t have a ton of cap space locked up because of the talent on their roster.
For the Heat, they could look to trade Goran Dragic to free up cap space for this coming offseason. That would create opportunities for free agents to sign, but higher max salaries under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will make it harder for the Heat to add multiple stars.
If they want a quick rebuild, it starts with building around Whiteside, which means building talent in this draft. After that, major moves in free agency can follow if promising signs show in the future.