The Miami Heat are at a point where they don’t have the talent that they’re used to, but Pat Riley isn’t worried about that going forward. 

With Dwyane Wade gone, the Miami Heat are one of the league’s most peculiar teams. Their best player is either Hassan Whiteside or Goran Dragic (Dion Waiters would say himself), and they’re still on the cusp of making the postseason. It’s a far cry from the norm, but Pat Riley sounded very optimistic during an appearance on SiriusXM:

“We have a team of young stars. We have some veteran players who are stars. Will the internal growth of the team transcend having to have a Big Three, and then that will take care of itself? And then out of that, I can assure you that players will rise up and become noted as stars or All-Stars or superstars. So we’re ahead of the process of having to rebuild by not having to draft young players. It just takes time with young players and that does mean you’re going to probably lose and you’re going to have to accept losing sometimes if you’re going to rebuild through the draft and I’ve never been a proponent of that. …

“This group of players that we have I think is one step ahead of having to rebuild that way because I think we can win. I think we proved that the second half of the year last year, but I think we’re one step away from where we are going to finish.”

Just a few short years ago, the Heat deployed a lineup equipped with LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Wade, and they were one of if not the best team in the conference. Last year’s team finished 41-41 and narrowly missed the postseason. They reached that mark without Justise Winslow and somehow managed to go on an incredible 30-11 run to end the season.

Pat Riley, whose end goal is a championship, thinks the Heat are ahead of schedule regarding their rebuild. Miami returned a lot of their key players and added Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo. Thanks to a weak Eastern Conference, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them finish as a middle-seed, but it’ll take the addition of another All-Star caliber player to put them over the edge.

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