Miami Heat president Pat Riley’s theory on the best way to catch the Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors have won two of the last three NBA Championships. Heat president Pat Riley isn’t sure the best way to catch them is the way they were built. (Getty Images)

Pat Riley remembers the feeling, how his organization once was the gold standard, the one every team was trying to chase and build to unseat.

Now it’s Golden State. And Riley understands what it will take to catch the Warriors.

Riley recently spoke about how the Warriors were built. “Organically,” he said. The Warriors original foundational pieces – Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green – all were acquired through the draft.

Once Golden State became a contender it started supplementing and building depth by acquiring players through trades and free agency.

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“They drafted well, but they also made some very good acquisitions via trade and free agency,” Riley said last week. “They got (Andre) Iguodala, they ended up getting (Andrew) Bogut in a trade. The very first championship they won, they signed Shaun Livingston. They drafted Draymond Green in the second round. So they had a very low contract with Steph, they got Klay, so they grew organically. … They used all three areas.”

After their first title the Warriors slipped before deciding they needed one more final piece to truly separate them from the rest of the league.

That was Kevin Durant.

Now, everyone is chasing the Warriors and Riley has an interesting take in how that should be done.

Riley is not sure the best way to beat Golden State is to build your team the way Golden State did. His reasoning. … it will take too long.

“I think today in order to catch them, if you want to do the organic trip, it’s going to take you a long time,” he said. “Because the organic trip obviously is through lotteries and draft, and maybe some real good trades. But to be able to pick off the free agent that can change that organic trip and make it a little faster, I think will always be there.”

Which lends more insight into the way Riley has been thinking as he attempts to rebuild the Heat.

Riley isn’t interested in tanking and trying to rebuild through the lottery. What he wants is to remain competitive and then hit on another superstar free agent signing or a blockbuster trade.

Riley attempted that last summer in his pursuit of Durant and again this month by unsuccessfully going after Gordon Hayward. But even Hayward alone would not have been enough.

Still, he has put together a competitive team with a core of Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Justice Winslow, Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson and Wayne Ellington.

But the Heat remain a star player (or two) away from becoming a true contender, one Riley always believes will be out there to chase.

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