Five Reasons Erik Spoelstra Deserves to Win NBA Coach of the Year
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Five Reasons Erik Spoelstra Deserves to Win NBA Coach of the Year

ESPN Analysts Agree Erik Spoelstra Headed to Coaching Hall of Fame

4. He Helped the Team Reinvent Itself

Udonis Haslem and Miami Heat Players

It’s hard enough as it is to establish a genuine, functional identity on any professional sports team. But to do it so effectively after losing elite-level talents like Dywane Wade and Chris Bosh right before the start of the season, is something truly impressive.

Sure, it took about half the season to implement, but Miami’s head coach was able to establish the team’s identity relatively early in the season, given what he had to work with. By mid-January, Spoelstra had a group of guys that most casual basketball fans had never heard of looking like a fine-tuned, well-oiled machine.

“Everybody knows how we started the season and how we’ve bounced back, and a lot of credit goes to Erik,” said Miami’s highest scoring player in 2016-17, Goran Dragic. “He’s an unbelievable coach, and a lot of players, we love to play for him. He’s putting the guys in the right spots and that’s how the players can thrive under his system. And he’s such a great communicator with all the players.”

See — Spoelstra realized early on that the Heat couldn’t do much about their lack of superstar talent. Therefore, he figured if he could get his guys to outhustle, outrun and outwork teams on a nightly basis, they would have a puncher’s chance in every single game — and that they did. Once the team bought into that strategy wholeheartedly, the floodgates opened and the wins started flowing in. That’s how they were able to finish the year going 30-11 in their final 41 games.

Next: He Overcame Near-Impossible Odds

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