Wednesday , Nov , 14 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Two Options For Pat Riley, Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, & 1-6 Miami Heat

Right now, the club is paying for that decision with a dismal 1-6 record. The veterans haven’t just aged, they’ve been acting like pro basketball is a union gig, where minutes are doled out on seniority instead of performance …

The Associated Press reports on Heat Coach Pat Riley’s comments after Miami dropped a 91-76 decision against Charlotte:

"I guarantee you I should suit up. I’d play better than some of them right now. I guarantee it. I swear to God. With an old hip and 62 years old and I can’t see, I’ll play better than some of my guys tonight. Come on, they were pretty bad."

"You grandfather playing time to all your starters or guys that have been in the rotation and you’re losing games. Eventually you’ve got to shave the beard and either look younger or get somebody else in there. You can’t continue like this."

My Quick Take: The Heat’s 2006 NBA Title should have come with a warning. After all, Miami didn’t just mortgage their future; they sub-primed the entire franchise for the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

Right now, the club is paying for that decision with a dismal 1-6 record. The veterans haven’t just aged, they’ve been acting like pro basketball is a union gig, where minutes are doled out on seniority instead of performance.

Superstars Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade haven’t helped the cause, either. O’Neal’s game has bottomed-out, while Wade has struggled with injuries. Right now, the Heat can go in two directions:

Option one: They wave the white flag of surrender and rebuild. Wade is the centerpiece, Shaq is kept as elder statesman, and everybody else is expendable. Instead of bringing in another crop of stop-gap veterans, the club commits to developing fresh talent. This would mark a change in their win-now philosophy.

Option two: Wade alters his style to avoid injury and Miami re-tools on the fly. A new batch of experienced players are brought-in. This approach has worked before. In the early nineties, after a few playoff failures, the Seattle Sonics changed the supporting cast around Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp and were eventually rewarded with two trips to the NBA Finals.

Miami must do something. Or we may just see Riley suit-up for the Heat.

Should the Heat rebuild or bring in more veterans? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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