Miami Heat: Why Pat Riley Finally Needs to Fire Head Coach Erik Spoelstra
The 2011 Miami Heat are currently in panic mode and that means it's time for heads to roll.
The trade deadline has passed, so getting a player of any worth is out the window. Unfortunately, they can't fire Chris Bosh.
That leaves the Heat with few options to shake things up.
An obvious choice is to fire head coach Erik Spoelstra.
He has made some questionable decisions in recent weeks, and we all know Pat Riley is chomping at the bits to coach this team.
Let's take a look at 10 reasons why the Heat need to axe Spoelstra and salvage this sinking ship.
10. Where's the Urgency?
How in the world are the Heat STILL not on the same page?
The Heat have played 63 games in the regular season together and still seem like they just met. The excuses were justified in November when the season had just started...but the lack of cohesion this far into the season is unacceptable.
Dwyane Wade still says the Heat are going through "growing pains". Spoelstra needed to use the countless amount of practices they have now had together to build up his team's chemistry.
Instead...it looks as if the Heat do nothing more than practice their one-on-one game's.
9. Still Time to Make a Move
We still have almost 20 games to go in the regular season. Why not make the move now and light a fire under the entire team?
Watching their coach get canned would provide a wake-up call to the players. It reinforces the urgency of the situation and should force the players to focus on the most important part of their season.
A shake-up is needed to save the season and time is starting to run out.
Time to pull the trigger.
8. Too Much Pressure on the Young Coach
Let's face it...Spoelstra doesn't have enough experience in the league to handle the situation he currently finds himself in.
This is only his third season as a head coach. He has been in charge for a grand total of 227 games. Compare that to Pat Riley and his 1902 career games coached and I think you get my drift.
Oh, and did I mention that Riley has five championship rings?
The 2010-2011 Heat are one of the most unique situations in NBA history...they need more than a third-year coach to get them to the promised land.
7. Players Need a Disciplinarian
It's crystal clear at this point that the Heat need a coach to stick a foot in their collective behinds.
They need a guy to tell it like it is...that the most talented team in the NBA is letting a potential dream season go straight to the gutter because of laziness and stubbornness.
They need a general that has experience, respect and the fear factor to scare the Heat straight.
Spoelstra is not the guy for this task. Not a single player on the Heat is afraid of making him angry. Rarely do they even listen to what he has to say.
All NBA championship teams have had great respect for their coach, and history has a tendency to repeat itself.
6. Players Want Pat Riley
Look no further than the L.A. Lakers to realize that coaches do matter. If you switched Phil Jackson and Spoelstra's teams this season...the Heat would be staring into the history books for best record of all-time.
The Heat's big-three know this, and as they tune out the voice of Spoelstra, they see Riley in the rafters looking on silently.
Riley was the architect behind this team and was able to do the impossible. LeBron James and Chris Bosh had enough trust and respect for Riley to push their cards to the middle of the table based off what Riley told them.
Of course the big-three will listen to every word Riley says. Having him on the bench would do wonders for the mental psyche and confidence of the team.
5. Inability to Beat the Elite Teams in the League
Coasting through the dregs of the league is just fine and dandy during the regular season, but sooner or later you have to beat the big dogs.
Right now the team is 14-18 against teams that are above .500 and 27-2 against the rest of the league.
Beating the T-Wolves and Raptors wont get you anywhere in the playoffs.
Before the four-game losing streak, the Heat embarked on a 11-game stretch of playing teams above .500. They are not off to the best of starts.
They were absolutely destroyed by the Spurs and blew double digit leads against the Magic and Knicks. They are 0-8 against the top four teams in the league.
The team isn't focused, and the good teams are exposing their flaws.
This is something the coach has to fix.
4. Very Little Playoff Experience
The Heat's 40-year old head coach has been to the playoffs twice...with two first round exits.
Is this the guy you want to have on your side when going up against Doc Rivers and the Celtics, Phil Jackson and the Lakers or Gregg Popovich and the Spurs?
They need a guy like Riley that has been there before. Riley's 282 career playoff games as a coach are more games than Spoelstra has under his belt in his entire career.
3. Has No Power Over "Heatles"
Few coaches in the league are able to completely control one All-Star.
But three of them?
The play of LeBron James suggests he hasn't listened to a word of Spoelstra. He gets caught-up in the selfish one-on-one play that bogs down the offense and hampers the ability for D-Wade and Chris Bosh to get shots.
Bosh has refused to stay in the post and finds himself floating around the perimeter in pressure situations, like the Magic game last week.
With the insane amount of offensive talent on the roster, Bosh should NEVER be taking three's with the game on the line.
Wade is much too passive at times as he stands and watches LeBron.
Where is the coaching of the three stars?
Spoelstra has failed every aspect of that test.
2. Alienated Team with Post Game Crying Comments
Spoelstra after Sunday's tough loss against the Bulls:
"This is painful for every single one of us to go through this," he said. "There are couple of guys crying in the locker room right now. It is not a matter of want."
How to throw your team under the bus 101: Call them out for crying.
Are you serious?
Professional sports are as manly as it gets and admitting to the world that players on your team shed tears after a regular season loss is totally unacceptable.
The Heat players were left answering questions about who cried for the next 24-hours. As the team finds itself in it's biggest slump of the season, the last thing they need is a distraction like this.
Terrible move by Spoelstra that may have permanently damaged his relationship with the team.
1. Failures of Crunch Time
The single biggest problem with the Heat is their play down the stretch.
The Heat are shooting a criminally awful 1-for-18 with 10 seconds or less for either the win or a tie.
As for the one make?
It was a James dunk to force overtime in November at Memphis..a game they eventually lost on a Rudy Gay buzz-beater.
James has missed four of these types of shots in the last 11 days!
Wade said it best:
"You're just trying to get comfortable with whatever role you're put in at the moment and you try to be your best at it".
Wade has rarely taken the final shot despite his uncanny ability to get in the paint and draw a foul. Anybody remember the 2006 Finals?
The players are not comfortable with their roles after 60 plus games—something is obviously wrong.
Clearly the lack of coaching has caught up to the Heat and Spoelstra. The time is now to make a move before it's too late.