Miami Heat: Pat Riley Has More to Gain Than Lose by Coming Back to Coach

Jason WhitneyContributor IMarch 7, 2011

Think Coach Spo is still smiling?
Think Coach Spo is still smiling?Doug Benc/Getty Images

By this point, everyone that has watched the first five minutes of ESPN has learned of the Miami Heat's continuous troubles.

Erik Spoelstra's up-and-down season has come to yet another fork in the road. This time, they figured out a new way to lose during their most recent skid.


Yes, LeBron James most noticeably, has brought his Cleveland "clutchness" (or lack thereof) to South Beach.

Maybe one of LeBron's entourage members should have tweaked his infamous "Decision" interview and made it, "The Chokeness." You know something like, "I've decided to take my clutch performing to South Beach."

Truth is, LeBron has never been that clutch. Before this turns into another bash LeBron article, let's bring into the conversation Chris Bosh.

Bosh was the obvious follower, kind of like the kid in high school who hung out with the popular kids, but never dared speak up to any of them. Bosh, by all accounts, is an excellent player, but was promoted last summer as a superstar, which he clearly isn't.

Wade has the misfortune of changing his game at the apex of his prime. Albeit his own fault, you clearly can't argue that Wade shouldn't take a step back via the arrival of LeBron James.

With all of this said, this is where Pat Riley should look in the mirror and say, "If I win a ring with these guys I might go down as the best ever."

Clearly debatable, Riley has won five championships as head coach with nine appearances in the Finals to boot—without players that go by the name Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.

Yes, he had an abundance of Hall of Famers, but Phil Jackson is the only other coach you could argue as being better.

He will end up having the luxury of coaching two of the top five all-time scorers the game has ever seen (by the time Kobe is done playing.) If we want to get technical, Jackson and Riley both had Shaq (currently fifth), but Jackson had him during his prime, who is another top 10 scorer of all time.

You could argue other coaches all day, but show me any other coach with at least 1,000 victories under his belt and at least five trophies on their mantle. Let's not forget about seven 60-win season's either.

Riley has already had the privilege of leading players like Magic, Kareem, Wade, Mourning, Shaq, Payton and Worthy, to name a few to elusive NBA titles.

Time to get hypothetical.

Say Pat Riley coaches the next two seasons and leads the Heat to back-to-back titles. Very possible, seeing that the Celtics and Lakers are getting old and might only have a year or two left before they take a step back.

The Knicks and Bulls will be contenders in the East, but I'll take my chances with LeBron and Wade with a Hall of Fame coach in Pat Riley.

By Riley leading the Heat to back-to-back championships, he becomes the all-time regular season wins leader. With seven championships, wouldn't that thrust him into a higher category amongst NBA coaching legends?

The point is this: He brought together this band and it's clearly missing its drummer. Coach Riley, accomplish this feat and you will forever be in the lore of NBA legends.

Besides, don't you want to be the coach that got LeBron his ring?

On second thought, don't answer that.