Erik Spoelstra Takes Blame for Last Season’s Struggles, Excited About New Team

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When the Miami Heat finished the season without a postseason berth last April, many reasons were pinpointed.

On Wednesday during a press conference, head coach Erik Spoelstra didn’t pin blame on anyone but himself for last season’s struggles. The Heat finished 37-45 and outside of the postseason for the first time since 2007-08, the year before Spoelstra took over as head coach of the franchise.

Spoelstra took full blame for last season’s performance, stating the following:

“I take full ownership of what happened last year. There are some things I would have done differently. Really, reflecting on what we could have done better. It should be on my shoulders.”

The Heat were one of the most injury-prone teams in the NBA last season, as Dwyane Wade was limited to just 62 games and Chris Bosh missed the entire second half of the season due to a blood clots ailment. The starting five of Wade, Bosh, Hassan Whiteside, Luol Deng and Goran Dragic never even took the court for a single minute together last season.

Spoelstra was blunt in his assessment for expectations of the 2015-16 Heat, which will finally feature the envisioned starting lineup for the first time in October:

“It’s about putting together a team we feel has an opportunity to compete for a championship. Big expectations. That’s the way we like it.”

Following the offseason additions of players such as Gerald Green and Amar’e Stoudemire, Spoelstra has stressed the desire to have the Heat increase the tempo of their offense:

“This team has to get the ball up the floor, get into our actions with decisiveness, clarity and pace. Whether that translates into us being in the top three of fast-break points, it may or may not. It will benefit us to play with pace, to get our players to our strengths. Playing with a slower, methodical pace probably doesn’t do that as efficiently.”

Though the Heat did miss the postseason in 2015, they had advanced to the NBA Finals for four consecutive seasons prior to last season.

Spoelstra did not hold back in his positive feelings for this year’s team in a recent AM 790 “The Ticket” radio interview:

“We feel 13 months later, after all the changes, we have a team the city can be proud of.”

As the Heat continue to grow as a team with Spoelstra at the helm, they will look to return to being one of the league’s elite during the 2015-16 season.
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D.J. Siddiqi grew up in the heart of South Florida in Broward County. Growing up in South Florida during the late 90's and 2000's, D.J. witnessed the Pat Riley years where the Miami Heat faced off with the New York Knicks all the way to the painful late 2000's seasons where the Heat were a one-man team with Dwyane Wade. D.J. has closely followed the Heat over the past decade-and-a-half, and unfortunately witnessed Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals in person when the Dallas Mavericks overcame a 15-point deficit to knock off the Heat. D.J. has writing experience as a columnist with sites such as Bleacher Report and Rant Sports, and he is proud to bring his knowledge of the Heat and the NBA to Heat Nation.