Pat Riley, It's Time to Get Back in the Game
Pat Riley needs to stop wasting time writing love poems to his wife Christine during games and get back on the sidelines already. Erik Spoelstra is a nice guy and one day, he may even be a great head coach, but right now he is not the guy who can lead the Dwayne Wade-Lebron James-Chris Bosh troika to an NBA title. Riley needs to take over as head coach of the Miami Heat again even if it means he gets criticized for pulling another Stan Van Gundy like he did in 2006 when he took over that team to lead the Heat to its first-ever world championship.
Riley is like the rich ass dad who has been letting his young son drive his one million dollar Bugatti Veyron. He wants to see if Spoelstra is mature enough to drive his new luxury ride. Based on way the Heat has played in the games the team has lost, the Heat's former video guy does not command the respect of his players. After the second loss to the Boston Celtics, James complained that Spoesltra is playing him and D-Wade too much. Bosh, after scoring 35 points against a depleted Phoenix Suns team, groused that guys on the team just want to chill, while Spoelstra wants them to work hard in practice. You better believe the Heat's power forward, whose play has been atrocious so far, would not be making stupid comments if Riley was coaching the team.
Spoelstra may be D-Wade's guy, but he is certainly not a James or a Bosh guy. When you see this team play, the players roles are still not defined. Despite his breakout game against the Suns, Bosh is not getting the ball enough. Wade is still taking acrobatic shots as if he has no teammates. He went 1-for-13 from the field in last night's embarrassing loss to the Pacers. And what was the point of having Wade, James and Bosh share the stage at the American Airlines Arena this past summer if you are drawing up plays for Eddie House to take the last shot in a close game. The money guys are the ones who are supposed to take the money shots.
There are only four men in the NBA capable of coaching this group of All-Stars: Larry Brown, Phil Jackson, Jerry Sloan or Riley. Of those coaches, only the Heat's president is available. This team needs a leader they can respect. That is not the case with Spoesltra. He is a good assistant. To develop into a top-tier coach, Spoelstra needs to be in charge of one of those teams that are at the bottom of the NBA's barrel or one of those small schools vying for a berth in the NCAA tournament. Instead, he's got a virtual All-Star team in his hands, and they're losing games to the Memphis Grizzlies and Indiana Pacers. Giving Spoelstra the keys to the Bugatti was a big mistake. Last night's 16 point loss to the Pacers was the final straw.
The change has to be made now. Riley can't wait until the All-Star break. He needs to give the Heat fans their money's worth.
Follow Luke on Twitter at: @unclelukereal1.