Thursday, April 1, 2010
Erik Spoelstra named Eastern Conference Coach of the month
I'm glad Miami's coach got recognition after his team finished March 12-3. The team's performance in this month in the wake of falling under .500 and into the #9 spot in the East is nothing short of exceptional. The Miami Heat and coach Spoelstra will have their fair share of detractors, considering the up and down nature of this season, but this upswing is certainly award worthy.
A 4-0 record over their main rivals for playoff positions during this month showed that all of the talking about energy, grit, and defensive disposition has not fallen on deaf ears with his players. The guys stepped up and put Milwaukee, Charlotte, Toronto and Chicago back in their place. Miami now trails Milwaukee by just half a game and could overtake them for the fifth spot with a strong finish.
I am not yet ready to crown Spo as the next great young coach. It could be a kiss of death anyway as guys like Doc Rivers, Avery Johnson, and Byron Scott were fired not too long after winning the NBA Coach of the Year award early in their coaching careers. However, I am starting to believe he could be a good defensive coach like Cleveland's Mike Brown (last year's coach of the year). Miami currently boasts the NBA's 2nd best defense in terms of points average allowed (94.1), a half point behind Larry Brown's Charlotte Bobcats. You can bet leading the league in this category was one of the team's goals heading into the season.
Defense is still the way to win in this league as is evidenced by the fact that half the league gives up more than 100 points per game, and out of those 15 teams only Phoenix and Denver are playoff bound. Toronto is still fighting off Chicago, who along with Detroit stand as the only teams holding opponents under 100 points a game on the outside looking in for the league's 16 playoff spots.
In recent games we have seen better offense from our team, like Jermaine O'Neal and Quentin Richardson getting post-ups. All of these things that the bloggers and the players have been begging for are starting to happen on game days. My guess is that the coach knew all along what his players strengths and weaknesses were, but was turning a deaf ear on their pleas until they started to pay attention to his message. If all players not named Wade take the approach of earning their offensive opportunities, then this season could yet exceed expectations.
Congratulations Coach Spoelstra, I hope this is a sign of things to come.