Each time the Siena College men’s basketball team works through learning about its next opponent, it sounds like the Saints are preparing to defend a team full of NBA stars. There are always some Wades and Currys. Usually, there is a Rondo or two. Every now and then, a Durant comes up. Why? “Because you want to label things with something the players can easily recognize,” Siena head coach Jamion Christian said.
“So, a Rondo can’t shoot,” said Siena assistant coach Carmen Maciariello, who runs the Saints’ defense. “A Curry is automatically [shooting from 3-point territory]. Then, Wade, he’s a scorer that can do a little bit of both.” And a Durant? “That’s a team’s best player,” Maciariello said. “That’s the guy who we can’t let get 20.”
Erik Spoelstra understands the question. He’s heard it before. The Heat are 11-16. They have the NBA’s highest payroll—a whopping $158 million. They lack a true superstar. The draft pick situation isn’t great. What exactly is Miami doing? … Miami? Under Pat Riley, a Heat coach or executive since 1995, the team has relentlessly pursued winning. Under Spoelstra, the Heat head coach since 2008, the team has never tanked.
Storyline: Heat Front Office
“This is what pro sports is supposed to be about,” Spoelstra told The Crossover. “Competing every night. To try to win. Not the opposite. Obviously not every year you are going to have a realistic chance to compete for a title. Since I have been here, working for Pat, from day 1, that has always been the directive. For me, that brings great clarity. Keep the main thing the main thing. And everything else is just b —- t.”