In the words of a friend, the Miami Heat’s Erik Spoelstra has to be an adrenaline junkie. I mean, you probably don’t sign up to be a head coach in a league that is run by players if you don’t enjoy a thrill ride every now and then. Especially when you’re working in Pat Riley’s shadow — which means you’re bound to get all of the blame when things go wrong and little of the credit when they actually go right.
But in this case, coach Spoelstra is about to take a hit for the way his substitution decisions turn situations from positive to negative in a matter of seconds. Things like experimenting with Greg Oden when the team is flowing against opponents you know he cannot guard or pulling a hot Mario Chalmers to roll with a cold Norris Cole just don’t make sense.
It’s like he has too much trust in his team to make up for those mistakes.
But by far the worst is when he elects to leave the instant offense of Michael Beasley on the bench like he did during Wednesday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors.
Beasley checked in and dropped 12 points in the first half only to sit out the entire third quarter while LeBron James went passive and Dwyane Wade sat out. Although the Heat needed scoring, Spoelstra kept Beasley in warm-ups for “defensive reasons” — as if Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis aren’t attacked every time they step on the court.
But how much can you really criticize the man when he’s wearing championship rings?