Heat head Pat Riley isn’t just about challenging reporters to push-up competitions.
He calls out his players.
Kyle Lowry described Miami’s season—which ended in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals—as a lost year. Tyler Hero, the Heat’s sixth man of the year, said he wants to start next season.
Riley’s response to both, basically: Do something about it.
Riley answers a question about Herro:
I think we’re seeing this in the league, if you want to win a championship, you want to be a starting player, you really have to become a two-way player today.
Riley, who applied the famously stringent conditioning standards of Heat, to Lowry:
You must be in world class condition. You just have to be. And that thing, as you get older, there’s a point where the returns diminish as you get a little bit older, that when you’re younger you can do things though. But I’m not saying that when he was younger he wasn’t in the same shape he was this year. But he will definitely have to address that, and it will be addressed. And to have what is the ideal general conditioning for him to be successful – because he plays the game in such a way that he needs his strength and size. It’s not Tyler Hero. He’s not that kind of lean guy. But I think he could be in better shape.
Herro did not defend well. With his size, he’ll likely never be a close advocate. But he can defend better.
Lowry missed 19 regular season games due to injury and personal reasons. He was not in good health in the playoffs. But BecauseAs Riley said, Lowry has a distinct body type and playing style, and it’s hard to tell if the base is in proper shape. There was room for reasonable deniability.
However, Riley smashed it by publicly calling Laurie.
Not every executive can get away with such harsh comments. The players will rebel.
Riley has the audacity to call it what he sees it.
Now, we will see how Laurie and Hiro respond.