NBA / Dec 13, 2010 / 2:30 pm

Spoelstra To Heat: Play Defense, Then Do Whatever You Want

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade

As noted in this morning’s Dime NBA Power Ranking, the Miami Heat have defeated a franchise-record eight consecutive teams by double digits. Wondering what changed? Well, other than the fact that Dwyane Wade has averaged 26.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists during the steak, a new team “reward system” has been instituted by coach Erik Spoelstra. As Wade puts it, “[Coach] said, ‘If y’all get stops, if y’all get rebounds, then y’all can do whatever y’all want,’ so as players we enjoy that. When the ball goes through the basket, then we’ve got to do what he wants us to do.”

From Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald:

A simple reward system has contributed to the Heat’s current run of eight consecutive blowout victories.

If Dwyane Wade grabs a defensive rebound, he has the green light to do whatever he wants offensively. If LeBron James makes a defensive stop, he controls his own game on the other end of the court.

These are the parameters set by coach Erik Spoelstra, and the chance for offensive freedom has helped spark the most dominant winning streak in franchise history.

“Our job is to defend and then we get rewarded with what we want to do on offense,” James said.

The numbers don’t lie. Defensively, the Heat have become one of the best teams in the NBA, and apparently it didn’t take much.

What do you think?

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  • neoy

    Chris Bosh got 17 boards the other night, I didnt see him do shit on the other end hahahahaha

  • rudderband man

    Wow. And I thought being the Offensive Coordinator for the Colts was the easiest job in professional sports.

  • S.A.C.

    Sounds interesting.

    I wonder how true.

    But sounds, simple and good to me! Lol

  • http://www.dimemag.com panchitoooo

    brilliant coaching strategy, the heat coaching squad aways seems to come up with fresh ideas to keep their team motivated when they know they have enough to become great team. its the old saying defense equals offense, its as if they turned the game into a streetball game with actual tough defense on the opposite side. i just hope people dont stop hating just cause they winning…

  • nola

    it’s really really sad that they need this type of motivation to play defense and it’s even more sad that the coach gave in to their primadonna attitudes. your motivation to play defense is to win a fucking championship. you listen to your coach and you buy in to his system whether or not you like it. spoelstra’s not a bad coach. this entire situation is an embarrassment to basketball and the nba.

  • Shiptar

    interesting that Bosh isn’t menitoned at all. Basically he has become a 16 million per year role player…

  • UncheckedAggression

    I see this as a kind of cop-out by Spo. The offense is still really bad and it sounds like he is trying to say that it’s defense that he cares about. If he had a decent offensive plan, there’s no way a coach on this level should allow players to do whatever they want on that end of the floor (it doesn’t matter the circumstances).

    I’m really disappointed with this guy.

  • robmo35

    Wow between giving up on trying to control your players, and what outside of Utah and New Orleans has been a run through some of the worst teams in the NBA Spol has really positioned himself as a genius. Maybe he and Phil Jackson can hang out

  • James

    I have mixed feelings about this right now, but if it works, I will acknowledge the genius.

  • http://soundcloud.com/chrismatic NTstateOFmind

    Coach Spo basically told everyone how easily replaceable he is

  • dlight

    SPO just has the balls (backing, AKA Riles) to admit what 26 other teams attempt to do, play AAU ball! Showtime II

  • Bizz

    Basically what it became was a green light to fast break, and when I saw the Kings game over the weekend, Wade and LeBron basically shot down the court every time they got a stop, which then lead to a dunk, and-1’s or free throws. I’m sure it doesn’t mean LeBron/Wade gets a rebound, takes 23 seconds from the shotclock with 2K11 isodribbles until they somehow beats the defender and then drives to the hole, and if the fast break is not there, they as players will most likely slow the break down and attempt to run something that will generate an effective offensive opportunity. Just because Spo has given them some freedom on the court, it doesn’t mean they’re gonna act like morons. Wade and James are smart enough to know certain situations during the course of a game require more restraint than others. I like the idea. Spo basically says, you work with me, I’ll work with you. Signs of a good coach.

  • dan


    Thank you.
    He is not telling them to do whatever on the court. He is saying get the ball back after playing defense without the other team scoring and run and get easy points. But if the other team scores ,then they actually set up in offense.

  • hooper5013

    Anyone who thinks bosh isn’t doing his job is an idiot. The only one solid enough not to bitch over shots. The only number one option on the team willing to take a backseat. People are so caught up in the stats of it. If Bosh through a tantrum and begged for the ball this team would turn to shit immediately. He is inconsistent on the boards but damn…give him a chance. He is getting you just under 18 points and 8 boards on a team with LeBron and Wade taking the bulk of the shots. Miami’s problem is that they’re two wing stars dont want to share the rock. One needs to play point guard. Lebron is a point guard. Neither is a consistent enough shooter to help the other. Miami will be fine if they just play. Bosh is great…he hasn’t bitched not once but the whole worlds calling him a pussy boy and a role player. As if there is room for him to be anything more than that

  • QQ

    And to say that so called ‘Heat fans’ here are calling for Spoelstra’s head. This coach just has the biggest balls in the NBA right now. He’s basically a no-name trying to teach two of the biggest stars in the NBA (and their role player Chris Bosh), and having the balls to back it up.

    Even as a hater, I have to admit they are playing really well right now. Props to them.

    And props to Coach Spo. Jerry Sloan will be proud.

  • UncheckedAggression

    Some of you are missing the point. By telling his team this, he’s saying one of two things:
    1. I can’t control these guys and I have to use whatever leverage I can to get them to listen to me.
    2. I am a poor offensive coach and cannot come up with a plan that is more effective than what Lebron and Wade attempt to do.

    Look, I know those two players are very smart. But it does’t change the fact that Spo is showing weakness by saying this to them. The team is playing well but they sure as hell are not a championship contender yet. The offense still looks like shit. Until they find a way to consistently play well in the halfcourt, they cannot accomplish the goals they set out to achieve.

    And to that guy defending Bosh… Come on. The main reason Bosh is getting hated on is because he’s been soft as hell and getting outplayed by players that we all THOUGHT were inferior to him. It’s not because he isn’t scoring enough. He is getting dominated down low. Shit, half the time he looks afraid to go into the paint unless Lebron or Wade are driving the lane.

  • QQ

    @ 16:

    I don’t think he’s a bad offensive coach, it’s just that as a Riley protege, he’s BETTER at coaching defense.

    And I don’t think that it’s about being inferior to his stars. I actually thinks it’s the contrary. Mike Brown can’t make Bron play defense. I don’t think any coach can make these stars play defense, what more the TWO OF THEM in the same team.

    It’s like Spo is saying ‘We have a great defensive system that will make us win games. You guys SHOULD play the system. You’re talented enough to create in the offensive end. But I need you to play defense. Bron, Dwyane, you SHOULD play defense. You should play the system. Everything comes easy after that but you SHOULD play defense first’

    I don’t think any relatively unknown coach could say that to those two without having the balls the size of Philadelphia.

  • MSL

    To those calling Spoelstra a punk or a dummy.

    I think he’s admitting a weakness and responding with a correction more than anything else.

    Up until this point the Heat were a great defensive team, but their stars were under performing and not putting up their previous stats. the team also wasn’t scoring a lot of points and was losing. It would be one thing for those guys to score under their career average if the team was winning. But to be losing, plus not getting your numbers; now that must of really sucked!

    So Spo said “I’m going to open up the offense, but you guys keep playing defense”, and low and behold the offense increased and the Heat started winning.

    Hey! Hey! Hey!

    What else you want the guy to do for now?

    His team is winning, their entertaining and still playing defense!

  • Lady Luck

    Essentially this is the same coaching strategy as Mike Brown. Give Lebron the ball and get out the way. Only now it’s whomever makes the defensive play, between he and Wade.

    That works very well in fast break offense. It’s when it slows down to half-court basketball that it becomes a problem. Which becomes clear in the playoffs, when teams are locking down defensively and slowing down the game. When it’s much harder to get out and run. When you need a PG on your team who can get the team into an efficient offensive set.

  • QQ

    Mike Brown didn’t let Bron play the defensive system. He watched as Bron make highlight blocks. The only players that played the defensive is system in Cleveland is everyone not named Lebron.

    Now, a coach is actually saying to Lebron (and Wade): ‘You PLAY defense. Play the system.’

    That’s balls right there.

  • Colton

    told yall they’d hit stride … whether they will go all the way is obviously yet to be seen. but they are definitely an elite team.

  • M

    They’re winning.

  • flegman

    listen carlos,
    you get a stop you do what u want
    pass to lebron
    or pass to wade
    whatever u want!!

  • hooper5013

    @16 who has dominated Bosh this season?

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