Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat currently find themselves in a dogfight with the Philadelphia 76ers, who have taken back-to-back games from the East’s No. 1 seed. Moreover, the South Beach crew is up against some real adversity with Kyle Lowry’s untimely hamstring injury and Joel Embiid’s Sixers return.
Nevertheless, there’s no denying that the Heat are in an incredible spot at the moment and Spoelstra deserves a ton of credit for getting them there.
Despite key injuries and COVID-19 outbreaks, Coach Spo was able to direct Miami to a 53-29 regular-season mark. Moreover, the club boasted the NBA‘s fourth-best defense (with a D-rating of 108.4), and multiple players put up career-best numbers.
Regardless, when the league announced its Coach of the Year recipient for 2021-22, Spoelstra wasn’t the one who took home the trophy. The honor instead went to the Phoenix Suns’ Monty Williams, and deservedly so.
That’s not to say, though, that the Heat coach didn’t receive a whole lot of love in the voting.
Spo Comes in Third in NBA COY Voting
Per the voting results released by the league on Monday, Williams was the top COY choice with 81 out of a possible 100 first-place votes and a point total of 458. Memphis Grizzlies play-caller Taylor Jenkins came in second with 270 points and 17 first-place votes.
Spoelstra was next in line at No. 3 with 72 points and one first-place vote. He was the second choice of 16 voters, while 19 others voted for him as their third-place pick.
While Coach Spo missed out on this particular piece of hardware, the 51-year-old still had some big moments this season. In addition to leading his club to the East’s best record, he was recognized as one of the top 15 coaches in the Association’s history in February.
Over 14 seasons as the Heat’s head coach, Spoelstra has amassed a record of 660-453 with a winning percentage of 59.3. Entering Tuesday’s Game 5 showdown with the Sixers, he had 91 career postseason wins, a number which rankes eighth all-time. His five conference championships are tied for fourth-best in league history.
Not bad for a guy who still hasn’t won a COY trophy.
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Redick Changes His Pick
While retired sharpshooter JJ Redick has been one of the few national pundits giving the Heat props for their incredible play throughout the campaign, the ESPN analyst looks to have lost some confidence in the team. On the May 9 episode of First Take, Redick switched up his prediction for the team’s semifinal bout with Philly.
“I’ve talked about the Miami Heat all season as being one of the most dangerous teams. I had them winning this series with or without Embiid when the playoffs started. I’m going to change that pick,” Redick said.
“The thing Miami has to solve is the non-Jimmy Butler minutes. He played most all of Game 3 and Game 4. I think there was 16 minutes he wasn’t on the floor. They lost those minutes by 22 points.”