Miami Heat: Why Pat Riley Will Be Back Coaching By the All-Star Break

Elliott PohnlFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2010

Miami Heat: Why Pat Riley Will Be Back Coaching By the All-Star Break

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    Miami Heat president Pat Riley was the architect of one of the most talented NBA teams ever assembled.

    Eight games into the season, the Heat have yet to find a clear blueprint for success.

    As head coach Erik Spoelstra tries to find ways to mesh his mega-talent together, Pat Riley will be looking over his shoulder.

    With more losses will come more pressure for the architect to take matters into his own hands.

    The Hall of Fame coach has promised he won't return to the bench, but desperate times could indeed call for desperate measures.

    Here are 10 reasons why Pat Riley will be back before the All-Star break.

No. 10: The Struggles Will Continue in the Near Future

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    The Heat host the Celtics on Thursday in what some believe is a must-win game for Miami.

    And it's not even mid-November.

    Eight games in, everyone wants answers when it comes to the Heat.

    Those answers won't come for a few more weeks.

    Miami needs to find a big man that can play defense and a point guard that can shoot the ball.

    Despite the abundance of talent, the Heat's half-court offense has looked absolutely lost at times.

    It's only natural to expect a few more losses while those kinks get worked out.

No. 9: The Pressure Is Already Building on Spoelstra

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    Let's face it, the Miami Heat will be playing all 82 games in a fishbowl, with the whole world watching.

    With three losses in the first five games, including Tuesday's 22-point collapse against the undermanned Jazz, Spoelstra's strategy and substitution pattern is already being questioned.

    Having an abundance of talent on his hand's has worked both ways for the Heat's head man.

No. 8: Riley Feels Responsible For Struggles

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    Riley made the decision to retain Spoelstra—a young coach who is still learning—after putting together a team poised to win both now and in the future.

    From top to bottom, the fate of the 2009-2010 Miami Heat will rest on Riley's decisions.

    If the struggles extend into December, Riley might start to wonder if he needs a more experienced leader on the bench.

    Don't be surprised if he looks in the mirror and tabs himself as the leader the Heat needs.

No. 7: Riley Wants to Win in the First Year

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    LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have plenty of time left in their careers to figure things out, but Pat Riley won't have much patience.

    He wants to get the dynasty going in the first year.

    While others might suggest a patient approach would be best, Riley could decide he wants to put the full-court press on Spoelstra and his players.

No. 6: Tired of the Being Asked About Coaching

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    Ever since signing his tremendous threesome, Riley has faced questions about a possible return to the bench.

    As if the Heat need any more polarizing figures on the bench.

    Despite making the playoffs last year with Dwyane Wade, an inconsistent Michael Beasley and a host of scrubs, Spoelstra has yet to earn his stripes in coaching.

    Simply put, his basketball acumen hasn't matured enough to stack up evenly against Riley's resume.

    With every loss will come more questions.

    Riley could easily decide to end the uncertainty once and for all.

No. 5: Riley Knows How to Mold Chemistry

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    At the moment, the Heat's biggest problem is a glaring lack of familiarity with one another and the system they are playing in.

    Chemistry might be the most vague notion in sports, but it matters.

    And, right now, the Heat have no chemistry.

    During his time with the Showtime teams in L.A. and the bruising Knicks in New York, Riley was able to manage egos while blending stars with role players.

    It takes time and it takes experience.

    Riley has more than enough coaching experience to solve those chemistry issues.

No. 4: Riley Knows How to Coach Defense

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    The best attribute of Pat Riley's coaching pedigree is his ability to coach defense.

    Riley has encouraged stars like Patrick Ewing to clamp down on the defensive end and he molded role players like Anthony Mason into defensive stoppers.

    As presently constructed, the Heat are asking Chris Bosh to do something he has never done before: play defense.

    Bosh has been awful on the defensive end early in the season and role players Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem haven't been much better.

    Riley's teams in New York didn't feature a great deal of talented defensive players, but they made sure opponents paid the price when they entered the paint.

    Whether it's the 12-of-13 performance by Emeka Okafor or the 46-point outburst by Paul Millsap, the Heat's front-line isn't scaring anybody.

No. 3: The Players Want Him on the Bench

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    When LeBron decided to take his talents to South Beach, it was reported that his decision was influenced by a commitment by Riley to return to coaching.

    That report quickly proved to be false, but there's no doubt that LeBron and the Heat players will take all the help they can get.

No. 2: Riley Wants to Coach Again

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    Pat Riley has never been known for being a particularly humble man.

    In his heart, Riley probably has a burning desire to get back to coaching.

    The only question will be if he wants to endure the grueling travails of the NBA season from the sidelines.

    The chance to become an even bigger part of something special might be enough to convince Riley to pick up the clipboard again.

No. 1: Spoelstra Is in Over His Head

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    Erik Spoelstra is trying to manage egos and minutes while solving problems on the defensive end and installing offensive sets.

    That's a lot to ask of any NBA coach.

    In the end, the quest for immediate gratification in Miami might be enough for Riley to kick his young head coach to the curb.

    And in his mind, Riley would probably be the perfect replacement to deliver a title to South Beach.

    You're on the clock, Coach Spoelstra.