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Live Blog: Highlights from Heat President Pat Riley’s press conference

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Heat President Pat Riley meets the media at AmericanAirlines Arena Thursday, June 19, 2014. after the team’s loss in the NBA Finals.

MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Heat President Pat Riley addressed a variety of topics at his annual playoff press conference on Monday.

Some highlights:

His general opinion of the season: “I think we had an absolutely fantastic year. It was a great story that was developing. With a lot of stories, the endings weren’t very good. We had a year we could really be proud of. And to do what we’ve done all season, overcome a lot of adversity and reach the last 16 seconds of the Eastern Conference Finals is quite an achievement. I was proud of our players and our coaches. I thought they did a hell of a job. Sorry, it ended like this.

On how he decided to bring him back with teams who are about to start: “Even though we brought him back [with this team], we would have a very good team. You have to be very proactive to see how you can improve.

Riley said “you get caught between these young up-and-coming players. Once your young players can rise to the point where you know you can win with them, you can always think about going back and succeeding. But will that be what leads to a championship?

So can this core win a championship as is?

“We all realize you can always use more, especially when you’ve been through a season and got results. [that fall short]. We will always try to improve the team.

“Do we need another [big-time player]? If there’s one there, throw it at me. You can always use more. But it has to be a good fit and not at the cost of doing something absolutely prohibitive. We will look. We will explore. I like the team we have, our core… Let’s see where we can go if something comes up, if that’s a viable option.

Is your first-round pick more valuable as a trading token than using the pick?

“Where we draft late at 27, it’s kind of a roll of the dice when you’re looking for talent. It’s also not ready to go at the top of the lottery. Sometimes you can make a mistake there. Draft picks are precious to us. We finally got them back in order. Unless something comes up that causes you to say I’m going to do this that would transcend drafting someone, I would consider always that [trading the pick].”

He said “you have to be a bit concerned about injuries derailing your opportunity. We had that in the bubble [and again in 2022]. One of the big stories this year is that we discovered other players. This opens your eyes to the possibilities available to them.

He said he wasn’t concerned about the age of the team.

Riley said “Tyler Herro’s numbers speak for themselves, averaging 20 per game. I don’t think he’s still here as a full-time player. He can score on floats, shoot up, three. The next step for him, if you want to win a championship and you want to start, you really have to become a two-way player today.

“You have to improve in some areas of your game. I’ve seen an improvement in his defense this year. He has quick feet. He needs to get stronger again, another 10 pounds of muscle mass. He still has a lot of strengths. As for being a starter, come to training camp and win it… As far as it fit, that was better [coming off the bench]. If he wants to start, we’ll see in October. It’s something you earn.

On Duncan Robinson: “The first playoff game this year was 27 points. You can’t win in this league without having them, guys who can do threes at the pace he can. I saw an improvement in his game where he goes downhill. He must turn the corner on pick and roll.

“The next part of his development is going to the basket and finishing and making plays and being very aggressive. It’s not just random bullet cuts. Defensively, as a young player, he needs to improve. We hang our hats on that. Duncan can improve. This message was sent to him several times.

Does the team want Victor Oladipo back? “Vic’s story is off the charts. It was a great story. Watching him go into games, when he was 21 in Toronto and 40 in Orlando, you started to see some things that he could do.

“I thought he had some big moments for us. You need players who can break down players on their own or with their speed and shots can create shots of their own. We’ll see where that leads. He’s a free agent. We have his bird rights. We will definitely talk to his agent.

How important is it to bring PJ Tucker back?

“PJ is a cornerstone. I would love for Tuck to come back next year. It is part of our core. He is special.

Tucker has a player option for $7.2 million and could opt out, with the Heat able to use their Early Bird rights to give him an $8.4 million raise.

On Kyle Lowry and his conditioning: “The main thing for me in hoping that you can get the most out of a player is that you have to be in world-class shape. You just have to be. It’s something that you get older, there’s a point of diminishing returns. He will certainly have to fix this problem and it will be fixed. I really think he can be in better shape. We will fix it and try to help him.

Riley said he disagreed with Lowry that it was a wasted year. “He’ll do whatever he has to,” Riley said.

On Bam Adebayo: “He was asked to do a lot of things as a young player and he became efficient. He is always open to someone. Duncan, Tyler should pay him half his check.

“It could take a year – and Spo and I will talk about it – where how can Bam be developed in a way that he improves his consistent shooting ability every night – getting 15 shots every night, quality shots he can get and create. He can sometimes be very prolific. But it can’t always be the effort, the running, the lob dunks, the little floats. There is another level where we need more consistency to create good shots [with our help] and mark.

On how much longer he will continue: “I’m 77. I can do more push-ups than you [a reporter] can… I definitely feel compelled to finish this build. If we’re three years into this build, I think we’re in that internal improvement window.

“We have a great, great player in Jimmy Butler and real experienced veterans. It was a bitter loss. The dragon did not leave my body after this loss. I was stunned, frustrated, angry last week and I know I’m starting to forget all about it.

On Udonis Haslem: “We want him to be in this organization for as long as he wants. He has more talent than has ever been attributed to him. »

Did you ever think during the playoffs that you had to acquire a great scorer to play with Jimmy Butler?

“That’s a valid question. It’s a consensus around the league by people who know what they’re talking about and know what it takes to be successful. Jimmy has a very unique game. Don’t have Tyler [at full strength against Boston]. Having Tyler at his best, which could always [help]. They [Butler and Herro] can play together.

“Maybe that’s where it’s time internally to move in that direction for Bam with more [offensive] responsibility. If there’s anything outside that doesn’t cost us an arm and a leg [to fill that need], I would still be interested in watching this. We will see. If you have a perfect replacement, it’s worth exploring.

On Max Strus and Gabe Vincent: “Gabe has something in him as a competitor, just like Max, that he can eventually get there. Max has a very unique game and a very unique stroke. Max must be able to go down and finish. He has to do a little pull up. His game needs to change a bit and he knows it. He has the ability to do it.

On March’s secondary incident with Butler and Spoelstra: “It was handled quickly and they went above and beyond…I don’t think anyone liked it.”

On Omer Yurtseven: “He showed a double-double game for 14 games, as many games as Bam missed. He was prolific as a rebounder and scorer. He definitely needs to improve his strength, his mobility, his footwork, his return to the basket, his defense.

“All of that will come with him. I avoided the question of whether Omer and Bam can play together. Probably they could. Depends on who the other three guys would be. You hate to experiment over the season in a way that will cost you wins.

“Dewayne Dedmon has had a great year. It was a good combination. Will Spo go bigger thinking I need to have a stretch five that can do three? Sometimes we might have to play big, but you have to make sure you get the big two right.

This story was originally published June 6, 2022 1:14 p.m.

Barry Jackson has written for the Miami Herald since 1986 and has written the Florida Sports Buzz column since 2002.