By:  Jason “Big J” Allen @unsportsmenBigJ

“All you need is LeBron, and you can win”; “If I had the big 3 they could coach themselves”; “Man, Spoelstra can’t coach Pat Riley is making him great”.  -Comments from the peanut gallery.  I know some of you reading this have made comments like this or at least very similar.  I’m here to say stop that crazy talk.  Don’t let your hate/love of LeBron overshadow how Great Erik Spoelstra is as a coach.  Yes I just said Great!  I will examine the knocks on Spoelstra and why they are just simply crazy.

Let’s attack the elephant in the room and that is the Big 3 MADE Erik Spoelstra talk.  Yes do Superstars make winning easy?  Yes Sir, ask Rick Adelman how many Championship chances he would have had if not for Shaq/Kobe, MJ/Pippen, Magic, Isiah Thomas.  See a trend here?  The Superstars, or better yet some of the 1, or 2 best players in the game at the time held Adelman back.  Who coached these teams, Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, Chuck Daly, all time greats that we don’t knock because they had Greatest Players in the World in their era.  So stop the Big 3 talk, if you exclude the 2003-2004 Detroit Pistons, every team in the last 20-25 years who won titles have had Superstars not a Superstar, but SuperstarS (most had Big 3 of thier own).  We don’t take away from Phil for MJ/Pippen/Rodman, Reily for Magic/Jabar/Worthy, so why do we reduce Spoelstra’s ability for LBJ/Wade/Bosh (and some of you don’t respect Bosh as a Superstar).  We do this because LeBron is not Jordan and Spoelstra is not Phil Jackson type personality.

The first two years before LBJ took his talents to South Beach, and we had the Heatles, Spoelstra won about 56% of his games with one Great and a ton of average players (Michael Beasley, Jermaine O’Neal, Quentin Richardson, and Carlos Arroyo).  I know you look at the 1st rd exits in both years, the Atlanta Hawks I can’t defend, but the next year the Celtics bounced Spoelstra and the Heat.  Give him credit he still got the team above .500 in the East and we know you can make the playoffs with a sub .500 record.  In Spoelstra’s first 2 years as head coach Dwayne Wade had the best years of his career and Wade credited Spoelstra for helping smooth out his shooting form.  Once again you need multiple superstars to make championship runs, but with one superstar Spoelstra continued to keep the Heat above water.

“No rebounding, No Ring” words spoken by Pat Riley, but the Heatles are one of the worse rebounding teams ever.  Why would Pat Riley make a team that went against his philosophy?  Because Pat Riley deferred to Erik Spoelstra to build this two time championship team.  For the last time world please repeat after me “PAT RILEY IS NOT BEHIND THE SCENES COACHING THE HEAT!”  Stop that talk, this is Spoelstra’s team and it shows.  They devalue rebounding and post play.  Say what you will about “Showtime” Lakers, but they were a down low post playing team, don’t believe me see the name Kareem Abdul-Jabar.  Spoelstra’s team is not built that way, he believes in the new wave of the NBA.  Wingman scoring, huge emphasis on the Guards and Small Forward play, with situational defense, and three point shooting.  This is not the Riley way, but the Spoelstra way, because its coached by SPOELSTRA!

Lastly, if you watched the Finals, Spoelstra out coached Popovich in situational moments, and for a good majority of the series.  You want to know why Tony Parker didn’t play down the stretch of Game 6 and 7, because LeBron James wore him down.  A move Spoelstra made, he decided to have LeBron switch onto Tony Parker earlier.  How about the small line up Spoelstra forced Popovich to have to play?  Spoelstra neutralized the Heat’s weakness of rebounding by making the Spurs go small or move their bigs out of the lane to respect shooters.  Also how about the Game 6 decision to let LBJ go “Cleveland” style in the 4th quarter by giving LBJ isolation and a running start from just below half court to attack the basket.  Another great testament to Spoelstra’s coaching is his ability to watch and breakdown tape, so his team will be prepared for the next game.  This NBA Playoffs, anytime the Heat lost a game they won the next game.  Also an interesting stat is outside of these Finals if the Big 3 lost game won in the playoffs they usually went on to sweep the next four games.

So before we give all the credit to LeBron, and Riley.  Before we disregard Spoelstra’s coaching ability.  Before we start wondering if Spoelstra is a Hall of Fame coach.  Let’s just respect what this man has done thus far in his young coaching career.  The Zen Master didn’t have his team do Yogi for 1 ring, but 11.  Pop didn’t lose his hair on his way to 1 ring, but 4.  Riles didn’t keep dying his hair black for 1 ring, but 4.  And Spoels didn’t watch hours of tape, take a LBJ shoulder bump, and a Dwayne Wade cursing out to just win 2 rings, but….

Jason "Big J" Allen  @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason “Big J” Allen
@UnsportsmenBigJ

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