Twelve helpful hints for Erik Spoelstra

With the Miami Heat’s slow(ish) start, Erik Spoelstra has been getting a lot of flack lately.  Is he the right man for the job?  Does he have the respect of his players?  Why isn’t this team living up to expectations?  How long until Pat Riley takes over?

Unfortunately for Coach Spoelstra, anything less than dismantling every opponent on his schedule meant these kind of questions would arise.

Considering Florida’s unemployment rate is already high enough, I would like to offer some helpful suggestions that might cool off the coach’s hot seat.  Another Miami icon, Tony Montana, lived by the motto “The World is Yours.”  So take advantage, coach.  After all, it’s your ass on the line.

1 – Alternate minutes at point

Your team is getting torched by top notch point guards.  In your first four losses, opposing point guards averaged 11.5 points and 16.5 assists a game.  While Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams and Chris Paul are perfectly capable of doing that to anybody, there’s too many quality point guards in the league to allow other teams to set the tempo.  Turn the tide.  Mix in minutes for Wade and James at point on both ends of the floor.  Let them control the game.  Those two like to have the ball in their hands anyway.  Be aggressive.  Throwing different looks at opposing ball-handlers will keep opponents on their heels.

2 – Learn the triangle

Take a page out of the Zen Master’s playbook and run some triangle offense, or at least something more suited to your roster.  What you’re running right now looks too much like a pick-up game.  You have three of the most talented players in the world.  There’s no reason not to have opposing defenses baffled.  Phil Jackson, among others, has to be salivating at the thought of coaching those three, although gagging at the thought of having to call Pat Riley boss.

3 – Entertain us

There’s a scene from “Swingers” where Vince Vaughn tries to build the confidence of his forlorn, young friend, Jon Favreau.  When meeting a new girl, he tells him “With these claws, with these fangs, you don’t know how to kill the bunny.”  That’s Coach Spoelstra revisited.  With these claws (James) and these fangs (Wade), you’re not killing the bunny like you should.  You have a more talented roster than any geek currently playing fantasy basketball.  Every game should be a highlight reel.  Take the reins off and let them play, but first…

4 – Abandon the isolation

One reason the current NBA has alienated the old school fan is that there’s way too much isolation play.  The ball in Wade’s or James’ hands with the shot clock winding down until one of them drives the lane, drawing a triple team and forcing them into a bad shot, is not my idea of imaginative basketball.  One-on-one is not a game I want to play tonight.  Mix in a few more pick-and-rolls, something, anything!  The Heat are way too easy to defend, which is ludicrous considering who’s playing for them.

5 – Adjust your lineup

When Mike Miller returns, try playing Chris Bosh at small forward and LeBron at the four-spot.  Bosh obviously doesn’t like to rebound… or maybe he left those skills north of the border.  He’s averaging under seven rebounds a game, by far his career low.  Everyone expected the big three’s scoring averages to go down.. but rebounding?!?  Bosh should be pulling down twice that many.  David Lee could sleepwalk his way to 15 rebounds a game on this team.  Since Bosh likes to play facing the basket, play him at the small forward spot and try LeBron at power forward.  He’s big enough and he’s a better rebounder than Bosh.  This is an unconventional team.  It’s time to do something unconventional.

6 – Keep them motivated

There have been a few games this season where the Heat get up big, only to relinquish that lead.  Keeping your guys’ eyes on the prize when they’re destroying an opponent has become an issue.  Channel your inner Riles and hit them in their pocketbook.  If your team gets up by 20 points and coughs up a lead, start fining players.  It’s the only way to be sure.

7- Get big

I keep hearing all these rumors about Erick Dampier.  Even though he’s just a Band-Aid to stop the bleeding, it’s not like he’ll be taking up shots, just space.  Look, if Danny Ainge and the Celtics can stockpile aging big men, why can’t Riley?  Even with Ilgauskas, this team will get killed by teams with a solid post presence.  You desperately need size on both ends of the floor.  Bosh plays small, Haslem is hurt and Joel Anthony is well… Joel Anthony.

8 – Establish an identity

I know it’s early, but this team has yet to establish any sort of identity.  Are they a run-and-gun team or are they more comfortable in the half-court set?  Are they a traditional, Riley-style shut-em-down defensive squad or do they just want to outscore their opponent?  What exactly are they?  The playoffs are still 70 games away which gives you plenty of time to figure this out, but you’re already well behind the 8-ball with teams like Boston, Orlando, Atlanta and Los Angeles whose cores have been together for years.  The Heat have two of the universe’s most indefensible players.  It’s about time you use that to your advantage.

9 – Stay healthy

Dwyane Wade has already missed time due to injury.  Now Haslem is hurt.  Without them in the lineup, LeBron James might as well have stayed in Cleveland.  The Heat might not advance come playoff-time if healthy, they definitely won’t move on if they’re not.

10 – Pucker up

I highly recommend kissing Riley’s ass, while still standing your ground.  You already have his respect.  He gave you the job in the first place.  Now it’s your job to keep it.  No boss I’ve ever had likes it when you walk into his office asking for answers.  They want solutions.  Find some.  Quickly.

11 – Sign Kobe

Just kidding.

12 – When all else fails, register for

This team has high expectations.  Whether it’s next week, next month or next season, if this team doesn’t win a title, someone will be held accountable and that person will be you, Coach.

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35 Replies to “Twelve helpful hints for Erik Spoelstra”

  1. Hey Erik, pick up the phone. Someone named Isiah at Snag-a-Job called. They want you to coach Florida International University.

  2. Does anyone else smell hair gel lurking? The Vitalis odor must be looming larger than ever in that Miami locker room, huh, Snake?

    Interesting mention of Zeke. I wonder how he’d do coaching this team. If nothing else, he’d develop a killer instinct among the three. Wade has lost his.

    I would imagine it’s pretty much pointless, though, to mention any coach’s name other than Riley’s. Any guesses to how long until he takes over?

  3. Awesome chumpservations!

    I think the thing I’ve enjoyed about this whole three superstar thing not working is that it’s not working! It’s amazing that we see how important all the other roles on teams are. Don’t get me wrong, they will figure it out better, but it gives me hope that you need a solid all around team opposed to just having superstars! 🙂 I agree though, they should’ve gone for Lee over Bosh. Do you smell a Bosh for Love deal on the backburners!?! Kahn’s always a sucker, I could see it happening!

  4. Chap…

    I honestly think the first move that will be made, other than signing Dampier, will be getting rid of Spoelstra. Bosh isn’t going anywhere any time soon… unless Wade and James decide to go all mutiny on the Bounty on him.

    They’re 8-6, dude. Who would have EVER thought of that?

    I really think the identity thing is key. They’re not a bad defensive team and we know they can score, but that one-on-one thing has GOT to go. And they HAVE to be able to score in the paint, as well as defend it.

  5. Riley will be in the driver’s seat before the Heat meet the Lakers on Christmas Day. If LBJ stayed with Cleveland, the Cavs would have a better record than the Heat right now. I’ve got Schadenfreude for the Heat,big time now.

  6. For my non-German readers (99.9% of you), Schadenfreude essentially means Hateration.

    I thought my Magic were going to pull one out in San Anton last night, Snake. They played a good game but fell apart in the last few minutes.

    Either way, as we’ve discussed, that Magic-Celtics Eastern Conference Finals will be tasty.

    Hey, speaking of that, don’t you owe me a bottle of Crown from a year or two back?

    With interest, that has to be like a Crown FACTORY, doesn’t it?

  7. Chris, you mean for that last Celtics-Magic series? I had the Celtics. This just in: Heat waived Stackhouse to make room for Eric Dampier.

  8. Hateration is modern-speak for schadenfreude. Pretty much the same thing, isn’t it?

    And I actually think the Crown bet was from two years ago.

    My understanding is the Heat had to waive a player to fit Dampier. I think they’re into him for 11 mil. That’s a lotta donuts.

  9. There will be no such wager as of yet, Snake, but in my opinion, come May/June they’ll have a tough time against Atlanta, Boston and Orlando. They’ll probably end up like a fourth seed, dispatch some mediocre team in the first round, then have that series and the entire season to prepare them for the better teams I just mentioned.

    Lots of season left to play though. Lots could happen.

  10. Wow, how much more would people hate Lebron if they pulled out a mutiny on Bosh. I would love to see that happen!

    If Spolstra gets bounced, who do they go with to coach the team? Everyone says Riley, but I don’t see that as a sure thing even if Spols is gone…

  11. If the Heat lose to the Magic tomorrow, and I think they will, Erik Spoelstra will be gone by Friday. The swami has made his prediction.

  12. No way that happens, Chap. They’re gonna ride this one out. I’m sure Bosh will come through eventually. He just needs to man up and get some damn rebounds.

    I mean, really? Seven a game? That’s unacceptable.

    And it’ll be Riles who replaces Spoelstra, man. Can’t let just anyone drive a Lamborghini.

  13. The Herald’s now reporting that Haslem might be out for the season.

    So now they have a power forward that can’t rebound and with Dampier, two centers that aren’t worth a damn.

  14. Heh, nice tips. I still think this is one of the most important. Don’t over-react to events in November. The Heat’s biggest asset is just waiting for things to gel. Although with their injuries it’s going to take a while for them to get that chance now. I liked the Damier signing.

  15. Not so sure about that either, Snake.

    I don’t know that Oden will ever play in the league.

    Whatever happened to that shot-blocker out of Mississippi State, Varnado, that Miami drafted? Why isn’t he getting any playing time?

  16. Pest…

    I’ll be right over to check out your latest soon. Just got the e-mail.

    The reason I do think the Heat have to worry is that their problems are structural.

    I know Mike Miller hasn’t played yet and he gives them another solid option offensively but this team should still be winning, at least at a better clip than they are.

    If they can’t score in the paint, that’s a big problem.

  17. You’d think in their desperate need for size (that’s what she said), that they’d consider signing Varnado to a deal.

    With that lineup, I actually thought he would have fit quite well.

    But what do I know.



  18. Helpful hint for Spoelstra —– if your own players don’t have respect for you then it’s time to quit !

    Sorry but your Gators laid a goose egg in that loss to the ‘noles ! How ’bout them Bulls(USF) laying the wood to the Canes ?

    Can we get a amen for the Vikings ? Once again showing why it is that the team simply is a bunch of whining pu_sies who are so vastly overpaid while producing nothing of any worth !

    Finished the assignment at work bar the final approval of the client and bosses.

    tophatal 🙂

  19. LeBron is stinking up the joint while looking to lay the blame elsewhere !

    How often will we actually get to see Bosh play for an entire game and not look so out of place ?

    tophatal 😛

  20. So LeBron threw Spoelstra under the bus, huh? Big surprise. Everybody keeps waiting for this kid to man up and it has yet to happen.

    I didn’t expect much out of the Gators this season, Al, so the beatdown by FSU didn’t shock me.

    I expect some coaching changes and an open competition at quarterback next season.

    I see that USF got Randy Shannon fired. I know Gruden is the hot name but I’m thinking they should try to pry Chris Petersen away from Boise State.

    And welcome back, Al. We missed ya’.

  21. Chris

    Randy Shannon gets fired cause he improved the graduation rate of the players albeit that he attained limited success on the field of play. Canes’ President Donna Shalala says that the overriding decision however in the firing was the lack of success on the field . Sileo on the other hand puts it down to the fact that Shannon wasn’t recruiting within his own backyard. That’s bulls_it when you consider that a lot of the kids wanted to go elsewhere rather than play for the Canes.

    tophatal ……… 😛

  22. Boise St needs a kicker like Paris Hilton needs a brain .

    LBJ now is trying quell the overtures of insurrection within the Heat’s camp. On the other hand Dwyane Wade says that Spoesltra isn’t necessarily his guy . I guess that makes the whole situation now all the more tenable for the coach ? What an absolute cluster f_ck ! This has the makings of the Lakers’ team that lost the Finals to the Pistons some years back . The buck hasn’t really been passed around but the magnificent duo now feels it’s OK to take a dump on poor ol Spoelstra .

    Asian Americans beware there’s two dumb n_gga’s on the prowl and they’re making one of your own look bad at the moment .

    It’s good to be back in the saddle once again . I’ve got some catching up to do on the reading and commentary front me-thinks .


    tophatal ……….. 🙂

  23. Whoever takes that Canes’ job will be under pressure to deliver almost immediately. Mark Richt , Gruden and Leach are just a few of the names being bandied about for the position. Gruden I don’t think will be back in coaching until 2012 . However if there’s no labor stoppage next season in the NFL then look for him to step down from behind the booth and take a position with a team and still be getting paid by the Bucs.

    tophatal ……….. 😛

  24. The point is, Al, at the U, you have to be predominant there, otherwise why bother? If Shannon can’t get the local kids, then they’ll find someone who can. That loss to USF didn’t help matters. They wasted no time in canning his ass.

  25. Al…

    The Heat are going from bad to worse and now we have LeBron shoulder-bumping Spoelstra.

    That reminded me of Robert Horry throwing the towel in Danny Ainge’s face back in the day.

    Say what you will, LeBron made no effort to move, nor apologize after the contact.

    I do believe his time there has run its course.

  26. And I still think the Canes should go after Chris Petersen.

    Why would he stay in Boise? Loyalty? That school will never get a shot at anything unless it joins a major conference. No school wants to schedule a home and away with them. And he’s losing most of his talent.

    How much is Boise paying him and how much more would Miami?

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