Erik Spoelstra Gets a Chance to Prove Himself

Updated: October 3, 2014
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Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra had the benefit of coaching the greatest player in the NBA, LeBron James, the last four years.

During that time, Spoelstra and the Heat were able to win two NBA championships, as well as making four consecutive trips to the Finals.

Many downplayed what Spoelstra was able to accomplish, due to the fact he had James on his roster. Now that James has moved on to the Cleveland Cavaliers, we get an opportunity to see how great of a coach Spoelstra really is.

The Heat were able to retain Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade by re-signing them both this summer. They were also able to add a few valuable pieces during free agency.

Miami signed small forwards Luol Deng and Danny Granger, as well as big man Josh McRoberts. They re-signed point guard Mario Chalmers, and they drafted Shabazz Napier to add depth to that position.

They will no longer have James, Ray Allen, Shane Battier, James Jones, Michael Beasley and Joel Anthony, but the majority of their key players are returning.

The question is: how good will the Heat be this season without James? Well, that’s where Spoelstra and his coaching expertise has to come into play. While it will take a valiant effort from both Wade and Bosh this season — as they didn’t play great last season — a lot of the pressure also falls on Spoelstra to get his team prepared for life without James.

They won’t be the favorites this season, like they’ve been the last four years. They won’t have it easy this season, like they did at times during those four years. And, they won’t James — I already said that, didn’t I?

Needless to say, this will be an interesting season for Spoelstra and company. One thing that keeps him in a comfortable place; he has Pat Riley on his side. Riley has believed in Spoelstra from the start. And they truly believe that they have an opportunity to make another championship run this season.

I personally think Spoelstra is a really good coach. There have been many great players that weren’t able to win championships during their NBA careers, because they didn’t have the proper coaching.

NBA coaches don’t get enough credit. It seems they only get credit when they win championships. For instance, Gregg Popovich has the title of the best coach in the NBA, why? Well, because he has won five NBA championships in 16 years.

What has helped Popovich accomplish that? He has a great player by the name of Tim Duncan on his team.

Coaches benefit from great players, and vice versa. If you take a look at all the championship teams, they had both a great coach and a superstar caliber player. Other than maybe the 2004 Detroit Pistons, who didn’t have a “superstar.” However, even though they lacked a superstar on their team, collectively they had one of the best starting fives we’ve witnessed.

Now the challenge for Spoelstra, to be considered a great coach, is to get the most out of Wade and Bosh. Are they still superstar caliber players?


Josiah Turner


Photo Cred (Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire)

Josiah Turner

Josiah is the founder and editor-in-chief at Sideline Sports Report. He has written for and is currently a digital editor at the SEC Network. He has covered the Washington Redskins for FanSided, and he has also covered high school basketball for and the Mechanicsville Local newspaper. Josiah is from Chesapeake, Va., and a college graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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