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How will Kyle Lowry react to Riley’s challenge?

Riley challenged the Heat point guard to get in world-class shape.

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Six Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Pat Riley’s end-of-year press conferences are always notable. As Naveen Gagliani wrote earlier today, he was his usual candid self, issuing challenges to multiple players. After the Heat lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals, Riley said that the Big Three should stay together “if you’ve got the guts.” Some speculated that that comment alienated LeBron James, who then signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Today, Riley said that Kyle Lowry has to be in “world-class shape.” He added, “He definitely is going to have to address that and it will be addressed.”

First off, yes, we know the jokes. Back in 2019, DeMar DeRozan said, “Kyle, with his fat ass, he know how to guard me.” Zach Lowe said on a podcast that if Trae Young had “Lowry’s butt, he’d knock dudes 10 feet backwards.”

But in all seriousness, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald said that Lowry is already working to come back next season in the best shape of his career.

Lowry’s nagging hamstring injury caused him to miss significant playoff time and often play poorly when he suited up. At times, Lowry’s abysmal performances were reminiscent of Mike Bibby’s historically bad 2011 playoffs. The Heat are no doubt hoping that Lowry can show he has something left in the tank for the two remaining years on his contract.

Longtime Heat fans may remember that early in the 2009-10 season, Riley questioned Dwyane Wade’s conditioning. He noted that Wade wasn’t quite the same dominant player from the 2008-09 season that saw him lead the league in scoring and finish third in MVP voting. Riley has never been shy to publicly challenge his star players.

Now it’s up to the 36-year-old point guard to use this offseason to get in world-class shape and get himself in position to significantly contribute in the playoffs next year.