Pat Riley excited for start of Heat season, growth of team and young players

FILE - In this Dec. 14, 2020, file photo, Miami Heat president Pat Riley watches during the first half of the team's preseason NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in Miami. After 12 consecutive months of work, Riley is telling players and staff to take some downtime to refresh and recharge before the offseason gets hectic again. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File) (Wilfredo Lee, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

MIAMI – Heat President Pat Riley is clearly excited for the start of the NBA season. He addressed reporters on Tuesday.

Riley touched on a wide-range of topics about the Heat overall and about specific players.

Riley said if the Heat are competing at a high-level, they could be willing to go over the luxury tax.

Riley said, “I’m not going to say every year we’re going to go into the tax and we don’t win and Micky is writing these big checks. I don’t think it’s fair. But when we have a real contender, which I think we have, we’ll entertain that.”

On Bam Adebayo, Riley said the big man has gotten more confidence. Riley said, “He’s gotten extraordinarily better since last season.”

Riley also said that Adebayo might just be a “flat-out scorer.”

Riley talked about new point guard Kyle Lowry and what the team has called “Kyle chaos,” he says the basketball is going to be flying all over the place.

The team President likes the roster, “I’m excited to see how it all works. I’m not excited about 7 of our first 20 at home and 13 on the road... We have a very challenging start so conditioning is going to be important, efficiency is going to be important.”

On Kyle Lowry: “You get his brain to go with his body. He’s very unselfish. There’s going to be nights he’s going to score a little bit more and there’s going to be nights when he’s going to distribute... It doesn’t make a difference to him, or me, or Erik as long as we’re winning games.”

On Tyler Herro: “One thing you don’t think you want to do as a young player or as a team, don’t ever tell anybody what you’re gonna do before you do it... If you want to put a bulleye on your back then go ahead and go out there. Young guys that are confident and brash, don’t sleep on me, okay, they’re going to come after you... Go out there and show it, go out there and prove it, and I think he will.”

The Heat were swept out of the Playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Riley said after the Playoffs, Jimmy Butler, “Wasn’t happy with getting swept and getting embarrassed.”

Riley also had high praise for sharpshooter Duncan Robinson, saying, “Duncan has become one of the 10-12 guys in the league who has changed the evolution of the game.”

Bam Adebayo said the Heat call themselves The Kennel because they have a lot of dogs.

Riley joked maybe he could get a dog food bowl in front of every player’s locker with their name engraved on it.

Riley said, “There’s this mentality... I could remember when a player would feel absolutely respected if a writer would say they’re a complete player, then it got to the point where they’re a player... Players take pride in how hard they play, their approach to the game... If that’s what Bam’s talking about that we have a bunch of DAWGS then fine, I want to see it out on the court.”

About the Author:

David Lang is executive producer of the Local 10 sports department.