Lebron James: Pat Riley Can Teach Him to Win; Heat Should Make Riley Head Coach

Robert DemmettCorrespondent IIIJune 13, 2011

MIAMI - JULY 09:  Head coach Erik Spoelstra (L) and President Pat Riley (R)  of the Miami Heat talk during a press conference after a welcome party for new teammates LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh at American Airlines Arena on July 9, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Lebron James is 2-8 in NBA Finals games in his career.

He shrunk again in the fourth quarter of yesterday's game, although he did post more points than his series average of 2.2 points.

It wasn't even that he was missing shots. It was the simple things, like knocking a ball out of play on a potential fast-break with four minutes to go, or passing to Chris Bosh at an impossible angle under the basket when Lebron could have easily dunked it.

Lebron just wasn't good enough in this series to win it. He made his first four shots of the game, but went cold in the end. He should look at his counterpart, Dirk Nowitski, who started the game horribly, but put all that aside to close out the game in the fourth quarter. He was the anti-Lebron last night, finding a way to win to cement his legacy.

Let me say that I do not like the Heat, but I like Erik Spoelstra. His story of being in charge of editing for Pat Riley at the beginning of his career to slowly working his way up to head coach is inspiring. He seems like a down-to-earth guy and has managed this super-team pretty well this year.

Having said all that, he got out-coached by Rick Carlisle.

The Heat breezed through the Eastern Conference, but blew Game 2 of the Finals and could not really recover besides winning Game 3. I never want to call for someone to lose his or her job, but the Heat should really consider putting Pat Riley in charge of this team.

Hear me out first.

Look, Lebron has never had a big time coach in his life. He never had a mentoring college coach. John Lucas, Keith Smart, Paul Silas, Brendan Malone and Mike Brown never did the job, and Erik Spoelstra is not even 40 years old.

And I don't care how good his high school coach was, he was still a high school coach. One thing all of these men have in common is that they never won a championship as an NBA head coach.

Lebron has never had a stable head coach who he could look up to and really respect. With no rings, each coach was in the same boat as Lebron: looking to capture his first championship.

How can he become better in the closing minutes of a game without the mentoring he needs?

Lebron is not a natural winner. He chokes under the pressure. Trash talking seems to get under his skin and throws him off his game.

What can Pat Riley bring?

A stable head coach who has won before.

No one can teach Lebron to win better than Pat Riley (unless Phil Jackson can take over, which he can't). Every failure that Lebron has had to endure in his NBA career has always been followed with a critique of his coach.

Pat Riley has won everything already.

He has nothing to lose by coaching this guy. If the Heat still do not win with Riley in charge, then Lebron is the loser. If they win, Riley is a genius for finally bringing out the best in Lebron with the whole country watching.

Pat Riley is already in the Heat operation, so he wouldn't be coming out of nowhere to suddenly take over. When Lebron and Bosh signed, people thought it was just a matter of time before Riley pushed Spoelstra out of the way to coach.

So, Pat, I am calling for you to do it now. How can you turn this offer down? Just for old times sake, just win one more championship with Lebron and you will add another chapter to your legacy. You would turn the best player in the NBA into a winner at long last. And all the credit would go to you.

Thanks for the read and feel free to comment.