Miami Heat: Erik Spoelstra Has the Ferrari, but Is He Afraid To Drive It?

Ronnie HampstonCorrespondent INovember 24, 2010

MEMPHIS, TN - NOVEMBER 20:  Coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat calls a play against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum on November 20, 2010 in Memphis, Tennessee.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2010 NBAE  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

This season was headlined by the super team put together by Miami Heat brass Micky Arison and Pat Riley. With LeBron and Chris Bosh joining forces with Dwayne Wade this team is expected to win immediately. So far this season the Miami Heat have been decimated with injuries and chemistry issues and are off to an 8-6 start.

Fourteen games is too early to judge a team's success, but with the newly improved roster, excuses are not in favor of the Miami Heat in Erik Spoelstra. Fellow NBA players, coaches and owners have all taken jabs at the Miami Heat for their slow start. Memo to the rest of the NBA: Choose your words wisely—there are still almost 70 games left in the season.

One glaring issue with the Miami Heat has been the coaching performance of Erik Spoelstra. Spo is a young and up-and-coming coach who is at the helm of the Miami Heat. Pat Riley hired Spoelstra because he was a young, energetic coach with a great basketball mind. Not knocking Spoelstra, but I don't think he was up for the lofty expectations this season.

How can a coach like Spoelstra, with a resume as short as Mugsy Bouges, be in the same sentence as Pat Riley, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh on a day-to-day basis? You have a two-time MVP, an NBA Finals MVP and one of the greatest coaches to ever coach the sport of basketball...and Erik.

Something is missing from the Miami Heat. The motivation is not there and the respect from the players may not be there. The Miami Heat need a coach that can motivate the players and get the maximum effort out of all active players on the roster.

The offense has been stagnant and the defense has been horrendous. This past week was a prime example playing against the Indiana Pacers. The Heat showed lack of interest and terrible body language throughout the game.  

In all of the Heat's losses they have been burned by guard play and post play from the opposing defenders. Coach Spoelstra may want to get in Dwayne Wade's face for going under screens when Ray Allen is shooting or yell at Chris Bosh for shooting jump shots, but he really can't. Coach Spo does not command the respect of a Larry Brown, Jerry Sloan or Greg Poppovich.

Only time will tell regarding the coaching situation with Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat.

This roster is too talented not to win. Star players need to be challenged by their coaches. Phil Jackson never hesitated to challenge Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant and Greg Poppovich never hesitated to challenge his stars. Coach Spo may not have the pedigree of these coaches, but his players will respect him more if he demands better play on the court.

The season is still young for the Miami Heat and in order for them to succeed Coach Spoelstra has to realize that this is his team, despite having LeBron James and Dwayne Wade on the roster. Coach Spo has the keys to the Ferrari, but as of now he still has it in park. Memo to Erik Spoelstra: Pat Riley has repossessed teams before...just ask Stan Van Gundy.