Reinventing The Miami Heat Way
5 Constants And Changes To The Miami Heat Way
Through the '90s and most of the 2000s, Miami Heat basketball was physical and bruising. They literally beat you up while beating you. And commissioner David Stern hated it.
It was a brand of bully-ball that Pat Riley brought with him from the Mecca to mirror the style of his old New York Knicks -- miles away from the “Showtime” that his Los Angeles Lakers prided themselves on.
However, a year after the Heat’s epic 2011 Finals collapse, the team moved to a pace-and-space formula that had them playing fast. Then three games into the 2013 preseason, Miami’s team evolved into instant offense, especially from Michael Beasley.
“In terms of a specific scoring role off the bench, we expect Mike to bring more, just like everybody else,” coach Erik Spoelstra said, via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Within minutes of checking into his first two games, Beasley brought more. He immediately dropped nine points -- on consecutive nights -- and he did it quick, fast and in a hurry. So naturally, fans started to wonder if he would go from the end of the bench to the sixth man.
Either way, if Beasley -- and the rest of the reserves -- can keep playing like this, Spoelstra can monitor the minutes of his stars and trust in the talents of his bench.
“We need those guys off the bench to come in and either get the momentum or pick us up when we're not going," LeBron James said, via ESPN. "You could bring in five guys off the bench and sit the whole starting lineup if you need to because we have that type of talent. It's definitely a luxury.”
With the team constantly reinventing themselves, we decided to take a look at five things that the Heat decided to keep and/or stray from the Miami way.
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With pace and space comes the ability to put different combinations of players on the floor that most teams wouldn’t normally stick together -- like Shane Battier playing power forward while Chris Bosh shoots threes at center.
And if practice is any indication, big men like Chris Andersen and Udonis Haslem will be following Bosh out to that line.
“The coaches have to see me shoot it,” Haslem said, via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “…It was the same process with C.B. [Chris Bosh]. He was shooting in practice and then he started shooting it in games and then coach eventually had the confidence and got comfortable with him shooting it.”
While Erik Spoelstra’s up-and-down coaching style has been a complete 180 from that of the early Heat days, it’s pretty clear that pace and space is the same -- if not the distant cousin -- of Pat Riley’s Showtime.
Whether it's John Starks, Voshon Lenard and Ike Austin or Michael Beasley, Greg Oden and Chris Andersen, Pat Riley has always had a passion for giving chances to the underdog.
In that regard, nothing has changed.
Juwan Howard’s move from player to assistant coach is another example of the organization showing loyalty to their own -- i.e. Tim Hardaway (Scout), Keith Askins (Director of College and Pro Scouting) and Alonzo Mourning (Vice President of Player Programs and Development).
Top-notch physical fitness has always been a staple of the Miami Heat. Just ask Antoine Walker and James Posey about being suspended for high body fat numbers during the Heat's 2007 championship hangover.
It's the same reason why Mario Chalmers, LeBron James and Ray Allen had a bet to see who could lose 10 pounds the fastest.
"That's the common theme around the Miami Heat organization," forward Shane Battier said, via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "If you have self-esteem issues, it's not the place to be. Because they'll let you know real quick if you can stand to lose a few. That's just part of the [Pat] Riley way."