Pat Riley: "I Like Our Chances"
Photo Credit: Michael Reaves
Pat Riley is known as “The Godfather” for a reason.
Thanks to the HEAT President working the phones leading up to the trade deadline, the team acquired Nemanja Bjelica from the Kings for Moe Harkless and Chris Silva and also added Victor Oladipo from the Rockets for Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and a 2022 draft pick swap.
After it all became official late Thursday night, Riley spoke to the media via Zoom about Miami’s new additions, his thought process behind the moves and more.
Check out some notable quotes below.
On What Went Into Making The Moves
“We’ve been continuing to work, obviously, on trying to improve the team and to try to get better as a team organically from inside. And at the same time, realizing that even though we went to the Finals last year, and we love our base of young players, that if there was any way that we could sort of fill a couple of spots to help us this year but also to preserve what we have going on in the future, which is to have good, young, solid players and something to build around. And the other thing that you always think about when you’re in our position…is that how do we build our asset base? So, I do think we have a very good team. We added to the team…with Victor and Belly. I do want to thank KO and Chris, Avery, Moe. Those guys served us well. And if you can add to your asset base and keep your future somewhat intact, which I really didn’t want to mess with too much, and add to that, then I think we’d be ahead of the game.”
On How He Thinks The Team Looks Now With The New Additions
“The most important thing is to incorporate both of these players into the present moment right now and to see how [Erik Spoelstra]’s going to sort of deal with this whole mix of players. We have a lot of depth. We have a lot of shooting…we have a lot of versatility. I think Spo will have a lot of options to be able to go [to] and be able to not experiment but use, so I think we kept everything that we needed in the cupboard to cover our defense and our offense and special situations. We got defenders, we got shooters, we got slashers, we got leaders that can make plays, and so he’s got to put all of that together now while we make this mad rush to the finish.”
On How He Thinks The Team Stacks Up Against Squads At The Top Of The Standings
“Because of how crazy this year has been, it’s been two seasons in one year to me…you can’t make excuses…it’s harder to be able to just go about and do what it is you do without thinking about being tested or getting a positive test or a negative test or all these things. And so, as much as those teams at the top can be there…there are teams that are bunched up in the middle like us. I’d watch out for us. I’d watch out for anybody in the West that’s bunched up in the middle. So, there’s no real clear cut because of all the conditions, I think, that are out there that could change the equation, especially in the playoffs, if something happened from a health and a protocol standpoint as far as COVID goes. I like our chances.”
“I think he’s a flat-out scorer…Victor brings you the whole package. If you go back and look at his stats and all the things that he did prior to his injury, the guy can be a catch-and-shoot 38, 39 percent three-point shooter as well as being a slasher and a driver and a cutter and a defender. I just think he can add a tremendous amount to our team as a different kind of player…we’re very, very happy to have him. And I think over the next two or three months, we’ll just see what happens, but I think we add a slashing scorer to our team, so we don’t have to just always depend on making threes to win games. If Jimmy and Bam maybe are not doing it, you might have another player that can create on his own in a number of facets to help you win.”
“Belly is a facsimile somewhat of what Kelly can do, so we protected ourselves there a little bit.”
On Trevor Ariza
“This goes back to 2004, and I was in Dominguez Hills in Los Angeles…I worked Trevor Ariza out when he was 19-years-old, and I remember talking about him at that time about his height and his length and the defensive ability that he had when he was at UCLA. So, we have always…had our eye on this player. And Trevor needs another week or two weeks of games and getting his legs underneath of him and getting the rhythm, but I think he’ll bring, with Andre [Iguodala] and with KZ [Okpala], in particular those three guys, that he will bring this 3-and-D mentality of real length and defensive ability…he’s very smart. I think he’ll make his number of shots that he’ll have to make, and he’ll give us the defensive presence that will help our team and how we like to play defense.”