MIAMI – The Miami Heat open training camp Tuesday at Florida Atlantic University. Today, Heat president Pat Riley gave his state of the team address, touching on everything from expectations to Dwyane Wade to the makeup of the roster.
Here are the highlights from Riley’s presser:
On the roster: “I’m happy with it. Erik (Spoelstra) is happy with it. It’s more than enough to go into camp. All of our players we brought back from last year are here. They’re signed. … We feel like we had players who were All-Stars last year they just were not selected. We feel like wes have stars they’re just on considered that.”
On training camp: “It’s a short training camp. It’s a short preseason. A lot of things are condensed. The league has changed the last 10 years across the board. Players keep themselves in shape during the off-season.” He said it’s not like it was 20 years ago when you never saw players during the summer and then added: “Our players have worked hard. I think they’re ready for camp. We feel our guys are in good shape.”
On Hassan Whiteside: “We’ve seen growth in his play, his approach to the game, his attitude toward conditioning. I really believe he wants to be the best. I think he’s motivated and inspired to be the best. But if he wants to achieve the goals he puts out on social media, which I think are great goals, being defensive player of the year. … you have to bring it every single night. It think he’s on the road to achieving those goals. We are expecting a great year out of Hassan.”
Riley says what he’s been impressed with the most from rookie Bam Adebayo is his maturity. Said Kentucky coach John Calipari visited recently and praised Adebayo. Calipari admitted he held back Bam at Kentucky
Riley said Erik Spoelstra is wearing a T-shirt around that says ‘True Competitor.’ Riley says what he is looking forward to the most when it comes to training camp is the competition.
Once again Riley says he is secure without having a true backup point guard behind Goran Dragic. Mentions Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson and even James Johnson who can step in.
On Justise Winslow: “We feel Justise is right there with anybody. He has worked very hard since the surgery. One of the hardest workers we’ve ever seen since the surgery. We love him as an athlete, as a winner.”
On the Eastern Conference: “So many things happen during the regular season. Sometimes the teams at the top they might not go as hard. There are teams that might be rated at the bottom that are a little bit more hungry. I do know we have a highly committed team. I do see Cleveland and Boston at the top. I think everybody sees opportunities.” He did admit, though, that both Cleveland and Boston have questions.
On this team’s chemistry: “I think it’s a true spirit there in how they talk to one another. The most cynical will say all of them were saying the right things in getting in world class shape because they wanted a contract. I don’t look at it that way. I look at our group of guys that they were very serious about the camaraderie. I think the words coming out that locker room are true. We got a very, very competitive locker room. We’re going to see if that 30-11 record is what they’re about. I’m not saying we’re a 60-win team but that’s a pretty good team.”
On Wade: “I feel great about our relationship. Anything that happens down the road we’re always going to approach that. Right now he’s under contract with Chicago.”
On Udonis Haslem: “He really is the real deal. He wants to play until he’s 40. (Alonzo Mourning) is like the face and the warrior of our franchise and he and Udonis can clean up anything. I think UD is vital to Erik.”
Riley said the Heat will continue to pursue superstars during free agency if they have the opportunity. But added: “I think we’re way ahead of a rebuilding cycle and I think we’re one step away from being a very good team. One step away could be the collective effort of an ensemble cast of very gifted players or one step away could be a move that could bring a player here. I do think we have the assets for that but I do think we have the inner strength of a team to take a step forward.”