Heat president Pat Riley said this week that while he believes his roster has high-level players, it will be difficult for a superstar to emerge because of the team’s approach.
And Riley is OK with that, while making clear that an executive who has built his career on coaching, and then acquiring stars, is still very much interested in landing one.
“I love our guys,” Riley told Sirius XM Radio for a Heat preview show airing at 7 p.m. Wednesday. “I wouldn’t want to play against our guys. They are so competitive. Spo (Erik Spoelstra) does a great job. And its almost going to be impossible for us to have a superstar out of this group because how we play is a positionless game where it is equal opportunity and there is going to be different guys every night.
“Back in the day a coach could take one player and make sure he got 20 shots a night, and then all of a sudden his name goes through the roof and he’s on the All-Star ballot and he’s making more money than he deserves and you are losing games. So only time will tell and I think this is going to be a real exciting year.
“But one thing we will bring to the table every single night is we will bring a highly conditioned team, a very disciplined team and a team that is going to get after it with some very talented players.”
Riley said: “ I was asked this question earlier and I was a little bit taken aback by it, that, ‘How do you think you can win when you don’t have any All-Stars?’ And when you think about All-Stars, there were 12 All-Stars last year in the Eastern Conference and there are 225 players in the Eastern Conference. So we had a lot of stars on our team last year, we had All-Stars on our team last year, they simply weren’t selected.”
Of the team’s standing, Riley made clear he will continue to chase available stars: “When it comes to ‘one step away,’ where are we in the rebuilding process, we’re going to always chase the most talented players that we can that are superstars, that we feel have the ability to be a superstar, and to really carry a team when a team can’t carry itself.
“So the whole stage of, you know, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts is really true when you have a team like ours. We have a team of young stars. We have some veteran players who are stars.
“Will the internal growth of the team transcend having to have a ‘Big 3,’ and then that will take care of itself, and then out of that I can assure you that players will rise up and become noted as stars or All-Stars or superstars. So we’re ahead of the process of having to rebuild by not having to draft young players that it just takes time with young players. And that does mean you are going to probably lose and you are going to have to accept losing sometimes if you are going to rebuild through the draft. And I’ve never been a proponent of that, I’ve been a proponent of all three.
“I would love to have a draft pick every other year and then I could go into free agency the year that I don’t have a draft pick. So this group of players that we have I think is one step ahead of having to rebuild that way because I think we can win. I think they proved that the second half of the year last year. But we’re one step away from, Where are we going to finish?”
Riley hopes his team rises to top four in the conference: “My thought is that we’ve been picked by a lot of the experts somewhere down at the bottom of the Eastern Conference eight. And why not jump out and start and play with who people consider to be the top four. So its up to them.
“They don’t have to back up last year. Last year was last year. This year is this year. What they need to do is to transform and transcend above and beyond having to have a Big 3. And I do think we have the ability to do that internally.”
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