The Miami Heat are currently closer to the bottom of the Eastern Conference than the top, but that isn’t stopping Heat team president Pat Riley from having playoff aspirations.
On Wednesday, Riley spoke with Miami courtside reporter Jason Jackson to express his full intention for his team to make the playoffs.
He also made it clear that while the Heat may not be in the running for top free agents this offseason, they are looking to be a major player next summer.
“We’re chasing a playoff spot when we’re young,” Riley said. “And then we’re going to be chasing some players that can come in. If we can get one or two players to come in with this group, this young group, then I think the sky’s the limit for this team in the next couple years. … In 2020, we’ll have a lot of room.”
Riley went on to say that he’s not the type of competitor to ever consider any option aside from advancing to make the playoffs. While so many teams around the league opt to tank for lottery picks, Riley is certainly not cut from that cloth.
“I have never thought of anything else other than we want to be a playoff team,” Riley said. “We want to think about the championship. I know, first hand, because I played on a team that was the eighth seed in Phoenix, that went and beat the world champion Golden State Warriors in the playoffs.”
His reasoning for that mindset is that once you make it to the playoffs, anything can happen.
“You can’t ever give up on ‘make the playoffs,’” Riley said. “I don’t care where you are. You get the right matchup, you get the right player that breaks through, you get the right call, and you’re on to the next round.”
It’s good to hear Riley state his intention of advancing to the playoffs, but with just over 20 games left in the season, it’s going to take more than words for the Heat to get there.
16 of Miami’s remaining 23 games are against teams currently in line to advance to the playoffs. Beyond that, Miami is currently on a three-game losing streak and has lost nine of its last 11.
The good news is that if the Heat don’t advance to the playoffs, fans can still look forward to next summer when Riley seems committed to bringing some established stars to South Florida.