It was only two summers ago the Miami Heat fans had high hopes of decorating their arena with ‘not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4 (well you get the point) NBA championship banners. Despite the highlight dunks and spectacular regular season records the Heat have failed to meet expectation, losing to the Dallas Mavericks in last year’s NBA Finals and being on the brink of elimination this year to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Miami Heat President, Pat Riley was praised for his ability to assemble such a talented collection of NBA All-Stars, all in their prime in his Lebron James & Chris Bosh coup d’état. However, Riley failed to add the most essential element needed to lead a team to a NBA Championship, a first class head coach.
Since Pat Riley won his first NBA Championship with the showtime Lakers in 1981 every NBA franchise that has won a title has been led by a coach who had been inducted into the Hall-of Fame or may be destined for future consideration such as Coach Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics.
One would have assumed that Riley would know the importance of having a first-class coach due to his own extensive head coaching experience as well his failed Stan van Gundy experiment which required Riley to come out of retirement to lead the Heat to their only NBA title in 2006. After stepping down Riley appointed a little known Erik Spoelstra to be his heir apparent, former team video coordinator who had no previous head coaching experience.
Despite amassing an impressive regular season record, two Eastern Conference Finals, and one NBA Finals appearance it has become glaringly obvious that Erik Spoelstra days in South Beach are numbered because he is in way in over his head. He has been totally outclassed by his opposition Doc Rivers, often left speechless and unable to provide a reason for his poor play calling and dismal coaching decisions like: Where was Bosh in the 2nd half of Game 5? What was Chalmers doing in the final seconds of Game 4?
Tomorrow several pundits will place the blame on the Heat players for their ineffective showing on their home floor, however Pat Riley is also deserving of blame as well. Riley broke the bank to bring Chris Bosh and Lebron James to South Beach but resorted to having a bargain price head coach lead them.
Horse trainers just don’t let anyone ride their thoroughbreds, only the best are reserved that honor. For the Heat faithful it is unfortunate that Riley did not attempt to do the same when assembling this Heat team which is now on the brink of elimination.
If the Heat fail to win a championship for the second year there will be wholesale changes to the Heat franchise. I believe that the return of Pat Riley to the coaching bench is imminent, and its only fair that he lead the team that he helped to construct. Stay tuned… – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)