Count veteran NBA writer Chris Broussard on the list of guys that’s never been impressed with Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.
In an interview on Wednesday, one day after the Heat had been eliminated from the 2015 Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time in seven years Broussard went on record, saying he “never thought Spo was great.”
And Broussard not only said the run for the Heat, from the years 2010 to 2014, was only “somewhat historic” and they were not “an all time great team," he also went on to say that they “caught a lot breaks” in the process during the postseason and asked the age old question “Who’d they really go through?”
Yes, we get it that the East is down right now.
”I haven’t seen enough to tell me he’s a great coach yet,” Broussard said on the Marc Hochman Show with Zach Krantz on 560 WQAM. “I think there’s tons of coaches that could’ve gotten that team to four straight NBA Finals [and] win two. I don’t think he’s a bad coach but I haven’t seen enough to say he’s a great guy whose job should never be in jeopardy.”
Hate to break it to him but as much as I agree with Broussard that LeBron James is the game’s ultimate difference maker and deserves a huge chunk of the credit for those four consecutive finals appearances, I’d still have to say that in terms of job security the 44-year old Spoelstra, a Filipino American from Portland whose father was a league executive for a number of different franchises for a span that covered four decades is staying put in South Beach.
As for refusing to give credit that’s one thing, but not acknowledging how artfully crafted the team was around James and Dwyane Wade, and for some part, Chris Bosh -- how guys bought into the young head coach’s system, especially defensively, and knew how to fill their roles, that kind of shortchanges the organization, and ultimately, the game, which I’m sure was his intention.
Broussard was asked about it by the radio host and said that Spoelstra “still has yet to prove it to me.”
One of four teams in NBA history to appear in four straight finals the Heat also had a 27-game winning streak a few years back.
As for this year’s campaign, which had to have had a little bit of a LeBron hangover the Heat battled through injuries and illness the entire season just to be in contention but came up short in its bid to make it as the eight seed. Of course, every coach whose team fails to win the championship needs to be held accountable to a certain degree.
If you want one stat that reveals so much about this season for the Heat, here it is: Spoelstra used a franchise-record 31 different lineup combinations.
I’m of the belief that Spoelstra is a coach that brings out the best in people, enabling them, or putting them in the right position to reach their goals and ultimately their potential.
Where would you like to begin: when LeBron left the team for back home or at the beginning of training camp when it became clear that Josh McRoberts would be a non-factor? The roster had no consistent outside shooting, which was a problem for all of the season, but out of necessity developed the game of raw big man Hassan Whiteside.
They had all the chances in the world but proved time and again they didn’t have anyone to step up when they were in a bind. The losses to the Bucks, Pistons and Bulls (all late game collapses) were all bad because you never want to see teams fold down the finish. Every team needs a closer or two.
The real blessing of the season turned out to be the growth/progress of Whiteside.
The 2015 NBA Playoffs begin this weekend, with the series people around here have their eyes on -- between the Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans – scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
Head coach Steve Kerr is done tuning up for the concert he’s been preparing half of his life to play. In regards to the list of great coaches Kerr has had the fortune to be around some great coaching minds.
First year Warriors Assistant coach Luke Walton believes that his fellow Wildcat has been able to incorporate certain aspects of each of his influences into his own style.
“…It’s like he takes what he’s learned from them and applies it to what works for this group. I honestly think if we had a different group, he’d be a different style coach,” Walton said.
Kerr said he knew how much talent was on the team, and he liked the fact that they had confidence but the trick was finding a sense of “purpose.”
During the offseason, after getting hired by Warriors owners, the former player, announcer and general manager visited starting center Andrew Bogut in Australia, small forward Harrison Barnes in Miami, and played a round of golf with MVP frontrunner Stephen Curry and his dad Dell at Pebble Beach.
He sat down with Andre Iguodala, another fellow University of Arizona alumnus and explained that he wouldn’t be starting but instead coming off the bench as the sixth man.
The Warriors ended the season with a franchise record of 67-15. They became one of ten teams in league history to reach such a mark and had a point differential of over ten. Six out of the seven past teams to pull off the plus/minus feat went on to win the championships that postseason.
I like the Warriors winning over the Pelicans 4-1, the Houston Rockets over the Dallas Mavericks 4-2; Memphis Grizzlies defeating the Portland Trailblazers 4-2, and finally the San Antonio Spurs taking down the Los Angeles Clippers 4-3 in the other Western Conference first round action.
That leaves the Warriors going up against Memphis, winning 4-2, and the Spurs beating their inner-state rival the Rockets 4-2.
Then for the conference finals we'd have the match-up we’ve been waiting for since about a quarter of the way into the regular season.
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