Pat Riley, president of the Miami Heat, took to the podium on Monday to sum up the team’s season and outline the organization's future. The 77-year-old touched on many topics, such as Tyler Herro’s need to improve on the defensive end and Bam Adebayo’s reservations on offence, but Riley’s comments on All-Star guard Kyle Lowry’s conditioning caught most people's attention.
The Hall of Famer lamented that Lowry, 36, looked his age for the first time in his career and that his conditioning, as well as every player on the Heat’s roster, will always be a point of emphasis.
Pat Riley on Kyle Lowry’s conditioning:
“The bottom line with me and for me as far as hoping you can get the most out of a player…is that you have to be in world class shape, you just have to be.”
“He’s definitely gonna have to address that and it will be addressed.”
— Brady Hawk (@BradyHawk305) June 6, 2022
"I do think that he can be in better shape next year," Riley said of Lowry. "We’ll address it and we’ll try to help him as best as we can. Because it’s not easy, when you get a little bit older.
"But, look it, the bottom line with me and for me, as far as hoping that you can get the most out of the player, and I don’t have to go back and talk about it, is that you’ve got to be in world-class shape. You just have to be. And that is something, as you get older, there is a point of diminishing return as you get a little bit older. When you’re younger, you can do things in spite of that. I’m not saying that when he was younger he wasn’t in the kind of condition that he was in this year.”
While Riley’s comments come across as brazen, he assured the reporters in the room that the six-time All-Star will be more motivated than ever after losing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Celtics. He added that Lowry’s stout frame is what allowed him to thrive at 6’0, but there is always room for improvement.
"Because he plays the game in a manner where he needs his strength and his size," Riley explained. "He’s not Tyler Herro. He’s not that lean kind of guy. But I think he can be in better shape. And I do believe that the pain of losing and the reminders that you send out about this might change his mind a little bit."
Erik Spoelstra, head coach of the Heat, echoed Riley’s sentiment regarding Lowry’s conditioning and believes the NBA champion will return to camp in the best shape of his life.
"I think Kyle will come back in the next training camp in the best shape of his career," Spoelstra told reporters when asked about Lowry’s fitness.
Lowry recently made headlines for calling Miami’s 2021-22 campaign a "wasted year" because they failed to win the championship. Riley disagreed with the veteran guard’s notion but understands and appreciates his mentality and competitive fervour.
"Kyle had a challenging year for a lot of reasons, and I don’t have to get into ‘em," Riley said. "They’re personal. They’re other things. But he had a challenging year with the move and everything, and earlier in the season he had some injuries, missed some time. There were some personal issues.
"Contrary to what he says," Riley explained, "I don’t think it was a wasted year. He said it was a wasted year. I’ve had that feeling myself, as a coach, when you’ve done as much as you can do, then you’re sort of like it was championship or bust for Kyle. He came here with that notion and he’s very, very disappointed in the fact that we couldn’t get to the Finals and win it. So he’ll do whatever he has to do, I think."
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