The Heat made a big move to bring in Lowry during the offseason, although it didn’t exactly go as planned. The 36-year-old, six-time All-Star averaged 13.4 points and 7.5 assists during the regular season, playing just a tick below 34 minutes per game.
However, the lasting memory of Lowry for Heat fans was his disappointing postseason, where he dealt with a hamstring injury that limited his contributions. Lowry shot just 29% and averaged 7.8 points a game in the playoffs.
Heat president Pat Riley was asked about some of the concerns surrounding Lowry’s conditioning and said it’s something the team will address in the offseason.
“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,” Riley told reporters. “He definitely is going to have to address that and it will be addressed. I definitely think he can be in better shape. We’ll address it and try to help him.”
Eric Spoelstra Expects Lowry to Return in ‘Best Shape of His Career’
The stance from Riley is a bit more stern than what head coach Eric Spoelstra had to say during his exit interview last month.
You have to take into context everything: The missed games. Injuries. It’s not all apples to apples,” Spoelstra said. “I thought Kyle was in an incredible groove about six weeks before the playoffs.”
The veteran skipper also threw some support behind Lowry, saying he sees him entering training camp next year “in the best shape of his career.”
Kyle Lowry Called Heat’s Season ‘Wasted Year’
The Heat pushed the Celtics to Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals but came up just short of a second Finals appearance in three years. Lowry isn’t getting any younger and did not shy away from saying time is running out for him in terms of being a key cog on a championship squad.
“You don’t know how many more opportunities you will have to get back to this. And so for me, to be personally honest with you, it was a waste of a year,” Lowry said after losing Game 7. “I only play to win championships. And so, it was fun, and I appreciate the guys, my teammates, and I appreciate the opportunity. But for me, it’s a waste of a year. You’re not playing for a championship, you’re not winning the championship, it’s a wasted year.”
To make that happen, the Heat may have to retool the roster a bit and Riley sounded open to making moves this offseason to bring another star to Miami. However, he was also clear that he’d like to see Bam Adebayo take on more responsibility as a second star alongside Butler.
“Maybe this is where internally it’s time to go in that direction with more responsibility,” Riley told reporters.