Time to give Erik Spoelstra credit for Miami Heat successes

SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 6: Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat and Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs on December 6, 2017 at the AT
SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 6: Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat and Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs on December 6, 2017 at the AT /

The Miami Heat have one of the league’s top coaches in Erik Spoelstra, but not many seem to acknowledge it.

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is overrated. He was handed four Hall-of-Famers and lucked into a few rings.

So goes the narrative for Spoelstra, as he navigates through his tenth year at this position.

The criticism all started when president Pat Riley picked Spoelstra as the franchise’s future leader, at least a year before he stepped down. It continued with the signing of Chris Bosh and LeBron James, and has lived on throughout every perceived shortcoming of the team.

Not to say that there have not been poor decisions and questionable concepts, but detractors miss out on the work done before, after and in-between, only to focus on the negative.

The good starts off way before anyone ever knew who he was, but they knew his work. Dwyane Wade’s improved midrange jump shot and signature pump fake finish were both a product of Spoelstra’s work. And yet, trips to four straight NBA Finals were credited to the Big Three. Nevertheless with Riley’s blessing, he was able to juggle one of the most scrutinized rosters of the modern era as he saw fit. Including admonishing them for taking contests for granted, during their 27-game win streak.

But beyond that, Spoelstra’s adjustments are what gained him a seat at the table of top NBA coaches.

Two of his three rings came from perfecting Mike D’Antoni’s position-less basketball recipe, into a scheme that involved defense to win. Prior to that, he coached a roster full of rented pieces to two playoff appearances–43 and 47 wins–while the front office tried to maintain free agency flexibility.

Now, it is the reason why the Heat are able to compete no matter who is on the roster or how many players are injured. Spoelstra gets his guys to compete in a similar vein as Gregg Popovich and Brad Stevens. Probably why he is the second longest tenured coach to Popovich, and has beat coach Stevens two times this year with holes in his roster.

While the public may not give Spoelstra credit, passing Riley for the all-time record of Heat wins speaks for itself. And he may lack the masses’ mentions, but his peers respected his efforts enough to award him with praise, and a portion of the inaugural Michael H. Goldberg Coach of the Year award.

VIDEO: Gregg Popovich Praises Eric Spoelstra and Heat After Spurs Win
With all biased feelings pushed aside, Spoelstra always has his team in a position to succeed—even when they refuse to try. And he has been doing it for the last two years without stars.

Therefore, it is simply time to give the man his due.