This summer, many NBA players have changed teams.
In turn, many franchises improved their odds of contending for a playoff berth next season.
The Miami Heat are not one of those teams.
In fact, they haven’t done much of anything from a team building standpoint.
Although veterans Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem haven’t decided if they’re going to retire, next year’s Heat squad is mostly set in stone. Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson, James Johnson, Tyler Johnson, Justice Winslow, Wayne Ellington, Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo, Derrick Jones Jr. and Luke Babbit are all signed to contracts.
Therefore, Heat fans might be a bit concerned at the moment. Although last year’s team went 44-38 and won the Southeast Division, they never were thought of as viable contenders, even in the weak Eastern Conference. They quickly lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in five games of their opening-round playoff series.
However, president of basketball operations Pat Riley wants Heat fans to relax.
A focus on continuity
“You don’t ever want to make a trade for the sake of making a trade; you just don’t want to do that [and say] let’s do something because everybody is upset,” Riley said, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
Rather than blowing up the roster or adding talent, Riley indicated that the front office will put continuity at the forefront of their strategy.
“Every now and then people have to step back, even the organizations, and take a deep breath and get ready for another season. That’s what we’re doing and I’m excited about it. I’m excited about the continuity of our players. Our players don’t like to be perceived [how they’re being] perceived as a team and maybe where they are going to finish. That always serves as motivation,” he explained.
Riley added, “I don’t feel that level of anger [from Heat fans]…. There are fans that write in that want more. We try to address it and let them know that you have to have a little patience at times. Right now, we are in that period of hoping our fans will have just a little patience and let this thing grow.”
It’s clear that Riley believes that Miami has a chance to succeed with its current roster.
“This year is a pivotal year for these guys to try to dispel the notion and the perception out there that we are who a lot of people think we are,” he said.
“We are going to be a very competitive team,” Riley added. “One thing we have going for us is we have familiarity, we have continuity. There is a system that’s been intact here. If it’s a free for all [in the East], I’m all for that because I think the door is wide open for almost anybody to do something very good.”
It will be interesting to see if Riley’s plan works out or not. Only time will tell.