Head coach Erik Spoelstra may be the most underappreciated coach of a championship team that has ever been a part of the NBA. Spoelstra has been the commander-in-chief on the sidelines for the Miami Heat since 2008. He has been with the Heat organization since 1997, and is the prime example of a hard worker in the coaching business.
Prior to landing LeBron James and Chris Bosh to team up with Dwyane Wade, Spoelstra led the Heat to back-to-back playoff appearances after being a lottery team in 2007. Six years later, Spoelstra is still undervalued when it comes to coaches. He will never get the credit that he deserves because he coaches three Hall-of-Famers, but didn’t Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach, Pat Riley, and Greg Popovich coach Hall-of-Famers as well?
The answer is yes. I am not comparing Spoelstra to any of those aforementioned coaches, but he deserves some type of credit.
It takes an amazing skillset to manage egos, and to get superstar players to buy into your system. Seeing James,Wade, and Bosh buy into what Spoelstra preaches is a thing of beauty. When the team’s leaders buy into and follow what the coach believes in, that makes it easier for the other players to follow suit.
Spoelstra does have the luxury of coaching the NBA’s best player, but that doesn’t always translate to championships. Spoelstra’s unconventional style of coaching and his ability to adapt during in-game situations are vastly underrated. Many coaches can’t go to the 11th or 12th player on the team and insert them into the starting lineup during crucial moments in the playoffs. Spoelstra does whatever it takes to help his team succeed, and the players rarely question his logic.
Naysayers will always say that Spoelstra has the luxury of coaching Bosh, Wade, and James, but Jackson is regarded as an all-time great, and he coached Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. I think it is unfair that Spoelstra doesn’t receive enough credit, but in he will in due time.
Spoelstra is headed to his fourth straight NBA finals, and will look to three-peat against the San Antonio Spurs. If the Heat win the series, it is time to show Spoelstra some respect.