Besides Jerry West no one has put together more winning teams for different franchises than Pat Riley. He has done it again this year with the Miami Heat. At the beginning of the season no one expected the Heat to be playing in the Eastern Conference Finals and be winning the series against the Boston Celtics. Even though the Heat are playing small ball like the Houston Rockets, they do something that the Rockets have not done since Hakeem Olajuwon and that is play as a team. Pat Riley has done a masterful job, yet again, putting together this Heat roster, especially with his guards who are running the three man weave so tight they look like one braided thread out there on the court.
This time last year Tyler Herro was a freshmen in college and last night he dominated the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. No one saw this coming except for Pat Riley. Herro is taking his last name for real, and you know that he feels slighted by not winning the Rookie of The Year. Tyler Herro is making a statement, he is playing like a young Ray Allen for the Bucks out on the court. Pat Riley knows what chess pieces he needs to piece together a winning team and he has done it again with Tyler Herro.
Goran Dragic is playing like a young John Stockton. He is not flashy like Herro, in fact a casual fan forgets he is out there on the court until he makes a shot and you are dumfounded and amazed by the high degree of difficulty. He is strong with the ball with solid basketball fundamentals. No guard wants to guard Dragic or Herro right now.
Bam Adebayo! Where did this guy come from? Newark, New Jersey, that’s where. Pat Riley needed a LeBron James stopper and he found his clone with Adebayo at 6’9, 255 pounds. The Heat desperately needed someone besides their guards to play big, and he has over performed, leading his team in rebounds and assists. The Heat in general have just out performed in the East and Adebayo is one big reason why.
Jimmy Butler, I bet the new Bulls’ coach Billy Donavon wishes Butler was still on the team. The 76ers sucked this year, I wonder why? Maybe, because Jimmy Butler was not playing for them. Butler is the glue for any team he has ever been on, he is the fixer. Butler is like that new valuable CEO that a company hires to quickly build up their sinking business. Pat Riley has done it again by signing Jimmy Butler. Butler can do it all. Besides a true center, he can play every position and since the majority of centers now in the NBA want to be shooting guards, Jimmy Butler could shut down AD or Jokic on the three point line. The only thing that Jimmy Butler and this young Miami Heat team lack is veteran NBA Final experience… Wait!?
Who did Pat Riley sign, who is that guy with the mini Dr. J afro I see out there on the court? Andre Iguodala, that’s who. NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala. He brings the NBA Finals experience to the Heat, that veteran determination, which the current roster of the Celtics lack. Though Iguodala’s stat sheet does not say much, he only had three points and two rebounds last game, but he played 27 minutes and helped play defense well enough to get Miami the victory. Andre is another guy at only 6’6 that can play any position out on the court, but since there are no traditional big men in the league any more, Andre could guard these tall slim jim centers and he is stronger than Anthony Davis.
The Celtics are in trouble and if the Heat go to the Finals the West is in trouble, the talent in the East is rising. Pat Riley has done it again, as a basketball fanatic I have to tip my hat to the man. I wish he would have stayed with the Lakers, but overall it was better for basketball around the nation for him to build up other franchises. Riley is like a basketball Apostle Paul. For crying out loud the man made the Knicks good for Kobe’s sake.
Riley is one of the few great basketball elders that is irreplaceable.