At most that might be the number of coaches, you could legitimately make an argument that they are better coaches than the Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. After Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers, you’ll be lost for thoughts thinking there are better candidates around the league.
In Miami, we’re so used to winning all the time that when we don’t it’s looked at as a problem. Everyone can’t win everything all the time, but with the way that Spoelstra has developed this Heat franchise by putting his fingertips on everything you’d think otherwise.
When the All-Star break hit and the Heat had a 29-24 record it looked like the team hit a point of no return and their future wasn’t going to become bright. Worse than getting a low seed in the playoff race, many people were fearful that Miami might miss the playoffs altogether. That’s when the news got even worse, and like they say when it rains it pours. The franchise found out that their leading scorer Chris Bosh was going to miss the remainder of the season due to potential clotting of blood in the lungs.
For as bad as the situation looked, Spoelstra didn’t quit and continue to rally the troops as he preached patience and establishing good habits on the court along the way.Fast forward three months later and the Miami Heat have the best record in the NBA since the All-Star Break. With big wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls, Miami has started to exert their dominance over their Eastern Conference foes. It’s also a reason why a lot of people gave jumped on the bandwagon and have picked them as one of the potential teams who could emerge from the Eastern Conference to reach the NBA Finals and all it took was a change in style.
Fast forward three months later and the Miami Heat have one of best records in the NBA since the All-Star Break. With big wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls, Miami has started to exert their dominance over their Eastern Conference foes. It’s also a reason why a lot of people gave jumped on the bandwagon and have picked them as one of the potential teams who could emerge from the Eastern Conference to reach the NBA Finals and all it took was a change in style.
After the injury to Chris Bosh, it would wreck most coaches chances to make the playoffs or sustain any type of consistency. Instead, the opposite happened under the leadership of Spoelstra. Instead of this team failing to perform, Spoelstra this week has officially made the playoffs in seven of his eight years coaching the team.
“We don’t want to take it for granted. Getting in there (the playoffs). Just how tough it is in this league….We (the organization) always have big expectations. That doesn’t change from year to year.
-Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra
With the change in personnel on the team, the offensive philosophy of the team started to change. More spacing and better pace were preached to the players in order to get the franchise back to their offensive style during their previous years when they were winning championships. Which is one of the biggest reasons why point guard Goran Dragic has found his stride after the All-Star break with the franchise. The Heat are running more and getting easier opportunities to score points because the floor is spaced out more often.
However, the change in philosophy all started when coach Spoelstra decided to do something risky and brought his best defensive presence Hassan Whiteside off of the bench. The move allowed Miami to have the best player on the court for the most important parts of the game and not have to worry about the foul trouble he tends to get in sometimes.
Additionally, what Spoelstra isn’t getting enough credit for is the development of rookie guard Josh Richardson. This season Richardson would routinely stay after practice and work on his game with Spolestra. Now because of all the work he put in and the production he continues to show, Spoelstra has all the confidence in the world to play him during clutch moments.
Now with less than seven games to play, Spoelstra already had another 40 win season in his back pocket and another opportunity to win a championship.
He might not win Coach of the Year, but things could be much worse in Miami.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey