Eric Spoelstra Might Be Looking For a Job This Summer

Michael PintoSenior Writer IFebruary 24, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 30:  Head coach Erik Spoelstra and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat talk during a time out during the game against the New Orleans Hornets at New Orleans Arena on December 30, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  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.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Miami Heat's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday was yet another reminder that Eric Spoelsta's decision-making can be costly. More so, his handle on the roster is troubling. 

There have been quite a few times throughout his two seasons that Spo's rotation, play-calling, and late-game actions have been called into question by the players and media. And it's gotten to the point where new questions have started brewing.

Earlier this year a frustrated Dwyane Wade called out his coach's play-calling. He didn't sound like someone who believed in the 37-year-old.

Is Spoelstra really capable of being the coach on a team that's supposed to contend next season? Can he earn the respect of another superstar besides Wade? Would LeBron James or Chris Bosh listen to him?

Spoelsta is the youngest coach in the NBA, so mistakes will be made. There's a learning curve, and it's understandable to a certain degree. But the issues are also over his control of the team.

He doesn't seem to have his players' ear the way Pat Riley, Stan Van Gundy, and even Ron Rothstein used to in recent years. Spoelstra's an intelligent guy, he's passionate and knows the game, but he can't quite sell it to his players.

The messages he's teaching aren't sinking in. What you're seeing on the court proves that. And it's partly because he's got to be losing credibility with his players. Spoelstra's decision-making is losing games.

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How is he supposed to get the most out of Michael Beasley when the second year forward is left on the bench for most fourth quarter minutes this season? Mario Chalmers and Daequan Cook have had out of whack minutes for weeks now. Right now Spo is playing them, but their playing time isn't at all guaranteed. Dorell Wright has proven to be a gem off the Heat bench, but Spoelstra took over a month to get him on the court.

Despite his recent success, Dorell has only been receiving significant minutes in fourth quarters for the last week or so. Before then, he sat next to his coach on the bench down the stretch. Wrights' extended playing time right now has everything to do with Wade being out and little in the way of Spoelstra utilizing his roster.

Spoelsta's lineups are questionable. His personnel at the end of games doesn't add up sometimes. There had to have been moments in which you wondered what could've been if Wade had come in a little earlier or if Jermaine O'Neal was given more rest before the finish. What about those games the Heat lost with Beasley watching from the bench? Why isn't Dorrell getting more minutes?

Tuesday's game against the Timberwolves was yet another time Spo's decision making caught up with him.

This was a game the Heat should have won. 

Minnesota was 5-24 on the road coming into the contest. Dwayne Wade or not, any decent team will always win home games against opponents like that. It says something that Spoelstra can't get his players focused for these sorts of games.

Instead, he let his team get overwhelmed at the start and watched them spot their opponent a 32-15 lead midway through the second quarter.

Despite being down by 14 points in the fourth quarter, the Heat somehow managed to stay alive. The reason was Dorell Wright. He had a career-high 26 points on 6-for-7 shooting from downtown.

With 1.1 seconds left in the game and the Heat down 91-88, Spoelstra puts Wright as the inbounds man to pass in the ball to Daequan Cook for the final shot. Cook was 4-12 from the field and 0-4 from downtown prior to the play; he missed the shot and the Heat lost.

How is Wright bypassed for that on a night he's 6-for-7 on threes and you're down three points?

There's another question you have to ask yourself as you follow this Heat season though. Spoelsta is doing what most young coaches do; he's making mistakes. But the Heat aren't planning on being a young, developing team next season. They want to go into championship mode. They want to make a big splash in free agency. They want to be contenders. But despite what some people might think, you need experienced and dependable coaches to lead champions.

If Pat Riley is going to bring in a second max, can he really do so with Spoelstra as his coach?