Pat Riley dropped some juicy nuggets about Hassan Whiteside’s growth, Dwyane Wade’s departure, and why he’s not worried about Justise Winslow’s development during a lengthy interview with NBA analyst David Aldridge.

His direct quotes are in bold with my reaction beneath.

  • Riley alluded to trading for another first-rounder in a question about rebuilding: “So talent is still, always and will forever be at the top of the list. So we feel that with Hassan, and with Justise and Tyler (Johnson) and Josh (Richardson), and some of the new guys who we got this summer, four or five of those young guys can create a nucleus. We have a pick this year. I have intentions, if it’s possible, to try and get another pick. And then we will have room. And so from that standpoint, you start making a plan and formulating what it looks like down the road, but you’re going to have to get some breakthroughs — from Hassan, from Justise, from Tyler, from Josh. And then you’ll see where you go from there..”

It is interesting that there’s no mention of Goran Dragic in talking about the Heat’s nucleus and the fact he talked about acquiring another first-rounder.

While I don’t see them trading Dragic during the season unless some amazing value trade comes along, he very well could be packaged with a pick this summer to acquire a big-time talent.

  • On paying Hassan Whiteside: “No, there was no trepidation. When you look at how the game is played now, when you look at how it has evolved and how it’s played, he’s the perfect center… I’m telling you, within a year, we’re going to be running a lot of offense through this guy. He’s never had that kind of pressure on him.”

Riley loves his bigs and we shouldn’t be surprised with his infatuation with Whiteside, who has the potential to be the best center of his era. The question remains how badly he wants it.

  • On Justise Winslow and his struggling jumper: “Just, he’s 20. Just experience, more and more experience. He needs — I hate to say this — he needs more and more failure…. He just needs more and more, he was so highly touted and there was so much that came to him. He’s not making the shots that he’s been working on. Everybody’s examining and micro-managing his 3-point shot. But this kid is a player. He’s a competitor. He is one of the all-time heart guys and can make an impact defensively, on rebounds, tough dig-outs, offensive boards. His offensive game is going to come when people shut up about it … I’m not concerned about Justise. We have a winner there, and we were very fortunate to get him.”

This echoes what I’ve been saying for a while. There will be growing pains with Winslow as he transforms from a low-usage offensive player to one who is called upon to provide not only more scoring but facilitating as well.

Winslow may not never be lethal from the perimeter but he’s showing ability as a creator and passer on the ball and should be given time to work the kinks out.

  • On crying while thinking about Wade: “We’ll always love him. We’ll never forget him. I can listen to ‘The Way We Were’ by Willie Hutch and I’ll come to tears just thinking about him. Or I can listen to “Always Together” by the Dells. See, only you and I know these songs. And I’ll come to tears thinking about him. I’m a cold-assed, cold-hearted Irishman. And I was raised in that kind of environment by a coach, by Dad, three brothers that were in the military that were athletes, eight coaches that were tough-minded guys. Believe me, that was a tough hit when Dwyane left.”

Wade’s jersey will rise to the AAA rafters with 100 percent certainty.