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View Full Version : How good a coach was Spo in hindsight?



JasonJohnHorn
12-09-2014, 11:42 PM
Looking at LeBron's stats this year, and considering his age, it seems clear that there really is no reason he shouldn't be playing as well as he did last year, and though most would agree he is still the game's best player, it is clear that he was better the two seasons leading up to this season.

Under Spo, LBJ records his highest FG%s (each season is in the top for seasons of his career), and the Heat made four straight finals appearances (which hadn't been done since the 80's; almost thirty years ago.


Great coaches know how to get the most out of elite players. Was LBJ's career performance the result of exceptional coaching from Spo? Or was Spo just lucky to get LBJ when he was hitting his peak performance?

Chronz
12-09-2014, 11:53 PM
What are you basing your projections on?

Are we forgetting the decline Bron sustained in year1with Miami? It's not on coaches, but talent and fit. Coaches make the biggest difference defensively.

That's where Spo shines but also where Bron has had mixed results what do u make of that?

JasonJohnHorn
12-10-2014, 12:15 AM
What are you basing your projections on?

Are we forgetting the decline Bron sustained in year1with Miami? It's not on coaches, but talent and fit. Coaches make the biggest difference defensively.

That's where Spo shines but also where Bron has had mixed results what do u make of that?

That is fair. I'm not saying that Spo was the deciding factor, simply asking what others think.

A coach can make a big difference on offense. I expect LBJ to be as good over the next couple of years as he was these past couple in Miami and with his conditioning expect him to be an All-Star past 35, but his FG% was amazingly high in Miami, and I'm not sure he will top that. And even his first season in Miami he posted his highest FG% up until that point.

Part of that is not getting double teamed as much. I think part of that is Mike Brown always did ISO, and in Miami there were a lot of fast-break and transition points (which are high percentage and which the Spurs defended against by taking care of the ball, making Miami less effective offensively). That might have just been playground chemistry with Wade and LBJ, or it might have been coaching. I dunno...

But coaches can improve players offensively. Curry has the highest 2p% in his career this year under Kerr, and Draymond Green is shooting the lights out under Kerr as well. Klay is having a career year behind the arc under Kerr, and Harrison Barnes is head-and-shoulders above his career best under Kerr. Now these are young guys who would naturally be improving, but setting up the right spacing and running the right plays, opens things up for players and gets them better shots. Barnes especially. Dud shot under .400 last year and dropped from his rookie year; this year he's shooting over .500. That is a HUGE jump. Draymond's green's 2P% is also WAY up... his FG% looks about the same, but he is taking 2 more 3pt shots a game and has improved his FG%. His 2P% when from .467 to .541. That is a huge jump.

I wouldn't suggest Spo did as impressive a job as Kerr has already done, but it seems clear that Spo did a better job of using LBJ on offense than Mike Brown ever did. This Cavs team is going to need some time together to run like a champion, so numbers might be misleading with such a small sample size so early in their first year together, but I think it is fair to say that Spo was doing something right. I'm just curious as to how much he was doing right.

lol, please
12-10-2014, 12:17 AM
Spo is mediocre, just accept it.

goingfor28
12-10-2014, 12:23 AM
Average at best. I could coach a lebron led team

Tony_Starks
12-10-2014, 12:29 AM
Spo took a allstar team that wasn't necessarily a good fit and still made it work. You don't get to 4 straight Finals just on talent. He's very underrated, not to mention before the Super team formed he didn't even tank. Had Wade and a JV squad still making the playoffs and competing....

Ezio
12-10-2014, 12:48 AM
Spo took a allstar team that wasn't necessarily a good fit and still made it work. You don't get to 4 straight Finals just on talent. He's very underrated, not to mention before the Super team formed he didn't even tank. Had Wade and a JV squad still making the playoffs and competing....

That's not hard to do in the East though.

I think he was the man for the job during the big 3.

Raps18-19 Champ
12-10-2014, 01:26 AM
He's always been average.

Chronz
12-10-2014, 01:32 AM
That is fair. I'm not saying that Spo was the deciding factor, simply asking what others think.

A coach can make a big difference on offense. I expect LBJ to be as good over the next couple of years as he was these past couple in Miami and with his conditioning expect him to be an All-Star past 35, but his FG% was amazingly high in Miami, and I'm not sure he will top that. And even his first season in Miami he posted his highest FG% up until that point.

Part of that is not getting double teamed as much. I think part of that is Mike Brown always did ISO, and in Miami there were a lot of fast-break and transition points (which are high percentage and which the Spurs defended against by taking care of the ball, making Miami less effective offensively). That might have just been playground chemistry with Wade and LBJ, or it might have been coaching. I dunno...

But coaches can improve players offensively. Curry has the highest 2p% in his career this year under Kerr, and Draymond Green is shooting the lights out under Kerr as well. Klay is having a career year behind the arc under Kerr, and Harrison Barnes is head-and-shoulders above his career best under Kerr. Now these are young guys who would naturally be improving, but setting up the right spacing and running the right plays, opens things up for players and gets them better shots. Barnes especially. Dud shot under .400 last year and dropped from his rookie year; this year he's shooting over .500. That is a HUGE jump. Draymond's green's 2P% is also WAY up... his FG% looks about the same, but he is taking 2 more 3pt shots a game and has improved his FG%. His 2P% when from .467 to .541. That is a huge jump.

I wouldn't suggest Spo did as impressive a job as Kerr has already done, but it seems clear that Spo did a better job of using LBJ on offense than Mike Brown ever did. This Cavs team is going to need some time together to run like a champion, so numbers might be misleading with such a small sample size so early in their first year together, but I think it is fair to say that Spo was doing something right. I'm just curious as to how much he was doing right.
I'll explain in detail later but fg% means **** when compared to overall efficiency.

But Again, wat are you basing your projections on? Expecting Bron to be as good as ever isn't realistic to me.

Lol at ascending players being brought up too. ANY coach should see high potential players improve. Coaches make the biggest difference defensiveldefensively, it's very rare that they make am impact offensively and any objective study has shown this [ as opposed to cherry picking flawed examples]

IndyRealist
12-10-2014, 01:48 AM
It's not really a reasonable correlation. Lebron James was superhuman before he went to Miami. His rise in 2pt FG could reasonably be attributed to the scoring ability of his teammates, allowing him to be more selective in his shots. He also worked on his 3pt shooting, which both improved his TS% and forced defenders to play him closer, allowing him to beat them off the dribble easier. None of this can be attributed to Spolestra, directly. Rather it is far more likely the change in rosters combined with his natural age progression and shooting practice resulted in him having substantially better shooting years.

Players peak around 28. Lebron's best shooting years? 27 and 28.

Minimal
12-10-2014, 02:03 AM
Miami are 26th or smth in defense this year, with LeBron Miami was a top defensive team, nuff said.

slashsnake
12-10-2014, 03:11 AM
Spo took a allstar team that wasn't necessarily a good fit and still made it work. You don't get to 4 straight Finals just on talent. He's very underrated, not to mention before the Super team formed he didn't even tank. Had Wade and a JV squad still making the playoffs and competing....

God, could you imagine if he did tank and Wade instead went to Chicago or somewhere else? Yeah it was pretty obvious that with Wade in his prime heading into free agency, putting together a crap team and building a culture of losing wouldn't be the right way to go.

I think he's a fine coach. Looked outcoached a few times early on, and vs. Pop at times, but everyone has looked outcoached against pop in the past. Got the best player in the NBA, had a little transition but got the team to play to his strengths.

And remeber lets not revisionist history this thing... he's started off better in his Cleveland return than his Miami arrival. I am sure if you look back you will find all those "first to report" guys writing articles about how Pat needs to fire Spo and come back to coach again and how, Wade (21 points on 45% shooting) couldn't coexist with Lebron, how Chalmers (29% shooting) was going to need to be replaced now if they wanted to win...

Lebron first 19 games in Cleveland.

24.2 points, 5.7 reb, 7.9 ast, 1.7 steals, 47% shooting, 35% from 3, .6 blocks, 3.9 turnovers, 1.7 fouls 12-7 record

Lebron first 19 games in Miami..

23.4 points, 5.7 reb, 7.5 ast, 1.6 steals, 45% shooting 29% from 3, .5 blocks, 4.2 turnovers, 1.9 fouls 11-8 record.

JasonJohnHorn
12-10-2014, 04:16 AM
I'll explain in detail later but fg% means **** when compared to overall efficiency.

But Again, wat are you basing your projections on? Expecting Bron to be as good as ever isn't realistic to me.

Lol at ascending players being brought up too. ANY coach should see high potential players improve. Coaches make the biggest difference defensiveldefensively, it's very rare that they make am impact offensively and any objective study has shown this [ as opposed to cherry picking flawed examples]

You are right, FG% needs to be taken in a broader context, but at the same time, claiming that coaches can't make a huge impact on offense is greatly flawed. Look at Sloan... that guy made average guys look great on offense with his system. D-Will plays under Sloan, he looks like the best PG in the league. D-Will leaves, he looks like a chump.

Pop is the same way. So many guys look great offensively playing for Pop (except Richard Jefferson), and then can't even get minutes on lottery teams. And it's not just when TD and Parker are on the floor, because Pop benches those guys all the time and plays with supporting cast and they are almost as efficient.

Do coaches make the biggest difference defensively? I can get behind that for sure. You can teach defense. You can't always teach a guy to read a defender in the post, or react to a defender on the wing. Either you got that or you don't (though it can be improved). Where as on defense, you can teach players, or develop systems that hide certain players' weaknesses.

I'm not disagreeing with that, I'm just suggesting that there are coaches who can improve players offensively as well, and some (Sloan, Pop) know how to make players better offensively.

Kerr seems to be doing that. I just read an interview with Barnes saying that he sucks as ISO, but the system Kerr has gets him open shots, and lets him move away from the ball, and that makes him more efficient.


As for FG%, it is a key marker of efficiency. Yes, there are others, not the least of which is turnovers and fouls, but if everybody on your team is shooting a higher percentage than they were last year, chances are that you are playing much more efficient basketball.

Chronz
12-10-2014, 04:28 AM
You are right, FG% needs to be taken in a broader context, but at the same time, claiming that coaches can't make a huge impact on offense is greatly flawed. Look at Sloan... that guy made average guys look great on offense with his system. D-Will plays under Sloan, he looks like the best PG in the league. D-Will leaves, he looks like a chump.

Pop is the same way. So many guys look great offensively playing for Pop (except Richard Jefferson), and then can't even get minutes on lottery teams. And it's not just when TD and Parker are on the floor, because Pop benches those guys all the time and plays with supporting cast and they are almost as efficient.

Do coaches make the biggest difference defensively? I can get behind that for sure. You can teach defense. You can't always teach a guy to read a defender in the post, or react to a defender on the wing. Either you got that or you don't (though it can be improved). Where as on defense, you can teach players, or develop systems that hide certain players' weaknesses.

I'm not disagreeing with that, I'm just suggesting that there are coaches who can improve players offensively as well, and some (Sloan, Pop) know how to make players better offensively.

Kerr seems to be doing that. I just read an interview with Barnes saying that he sucks as ISO, but the system Kerr has gets him open shots, and lets him move away from the ball, and that makes him more efficient.


As for FG%, it is a key marker of efficiency. Yes, there are others, not the least of which is turnovers and fouls, but if everybody on your team is shooting a higher percentage than they were last year, chances are that you are playing much more efficient basketball.
Dont know what you mean by broader context, Im saying you can use the same contextual factors, FG% is literally irrelevant when compared to overall efficiency.

And again, I dont buy your isolated examples above actual objective studies. FG% is the worst marker of efficiency, if we cant move past that, then we wont agree on anything here. Just like our rebounding debate, I choose to side with those in the business of quantifying efficiency.

GoferKing_
12-10-2014, 04:51 AM
He is crap, James had this monster FG% beccause of Bosh, Wade, Allen etc. super duper team. The coach was shiet.

PurpleLynch
12-10-2014, 07:46 AM
Spoelstra is a good coach,nothing of crazy,but he did a wonderful job in Miami when the big 3 formed. It's easier winning with a stacked team,but he did an amazing job managing the egos of those three players,plus he did a good job with the bench for those 4 years.
But,Lebron was just pure luck for him. He played the best bball he's ever played(his athleticism was declining though after the Finals of 2011). The East also was weak in those four years.

Chronz
12-10-2014, 12:17 PM
Sorry i havent been able to respond with the same level of respect as you JJH but its rush hour this time of the year for me. I promise to get back to you and do my rebuttal justice.

Tony_Starks
12-10-2014, 12:51 PM
God, could you imagine if he did tank and Wade instead went to Chicago or somewhere else? Yeah it was pretty obvious that with Wade in his prime heading into free agency, putting together a crap team and building a culture of losing wouldn't be the right way to go.

I think he's a fine coach. Looked outcoached a few times early on, and vs. Pop at times, but everyone has looked outcoached against pop in the past. Got the best player in the NBA, had a little transition but got the team to play to his strengths.

And remeber lets not revisionist history this thing... he's started off better in his Cleveland return than his Miami arrival. I am sure if you look back you will find all those "first to report" guys writing articles about how Pat needs to fire Spo and come back to coach again and how, Wade (21 points on 45% shooting) couldn't coexist with Lebron, how Chalmers (29% shooting) was going to need to be replaced now if they wanted to win...

Lebron first 19 games in Cleveland.

24.2 points, 5.7 reb, 7.9 ast, 1.7 steals, 47% shooting, 35% from 3, .6 blocks, 3.9 turnovers, 1.7 fouls 12-7 record

Lebron first 19 games in Miami..

23.4 points, 5.7 reb, 7.5 ast, 1.6 steals, 45% shooting 29% from 3, .5 blocks, 4.2 turnovers, 1.9 fouls 11-8 record.

Man I remember all the "Fire Spo" threads after like 20 games. He did a remarkable job considering he had to mesh two ball dominant players. Chris Bosh basically had to be the fall guy but moving him out of the paint made them better.

Like you said he got outcoached by Pop but there's really no shame in that, I've seen that happen to Phil Jackson.

slashsnake
12-10-2014, 09:36 PM
Man I remember all the "Fire Spo" threads after like 20 games. He did a remarkable job considering he had to mesh two ball dominant players. Chris Bosh basically had to be the fall guy but moving him out of the paint made them better.

Like you said he got outcoached by Pop but there's really no shame in that, I've seen that happen to Phil Jackson.

And Carlisle... but again no shame there. Given a great situation sure. But also huge expectations, and a lot of pressure from players, media, Riley... It was succeed and succeed now... Period. I am leaning towards good. Great coach will come from what he does the next 10 years.

Bring The Heat
12-10-2014, 09:43 PM
2 back to back championships... 4 straight trips to the finals... I'd say Spo did a remarkable job.

FlashBolt
12-11-2014, 01:00 AM
Spo is overrated. He's a good coach but I can name 14 coaches better than him. Good doesn't cut it anymore. Only a few coaches are elite and if you're not elite, you're just the average Joe.

ghettosean
12-11-2014, 01:53 AM
2 back to back championships... 4 straight trips to the finals... I'd say Spo did a remarkable job.

I'd say 3 all stars/franchise players on the same squad did a great job so it's debatable. Let's nit forget Riley was also pulling strings in the background... Again it's all very debatable.

Chronz
12-11-2014, 01:56 AM
I'd say 3 all stars/franchise players on the same squad did a great job so it's debatable. Let's nit forget Riley was also pulling strings in the background... Again it's all very debatable.

Riley held them back imo.

And in retrospect, so did spo by taking soo long in realizing Rio was their best pg and that going small with pns being the philosophy. The guy was playing the corpse of bibby and dampier ffs

blahblahyoutoo
12-11-2014, 03:16 AM
That's not hard to do in the East though.

I think he was the man for the job during the big 3.

tell that to melo.

blahblahyoutoo
12-11-2014, 03:19 AM
spo and the heatles were a good fit.
there were ups and downs, but i'll take 2 in a very exciting 4 years.

YAALREADYKNO
12-11-2014, 10:05 AM
he's a good coach he took wade and a bunch of scrubs to the playoffs even though it was in the east the heat were always #4-5 seed

1.popavic
2.carlise
3.rivers
4.thibodeu
5.spolestra

Chronz
12-11-2014, 04:06 PM
A coach can make a big difference on offense. I expect LBJ to be as good over the next couple of years as he was these past couple in Miami and with his conditioning expect him to be an All-Star past 35, but his FG% was amazingly high in Miami, and I'm not sure he will top that. And even his first season in Miami he posted his highest FG% up until that point.
Bron's production was pretty much the lowest of his prime, the year he joined Miami, part of that was getting acclimated and part of that was the talent alongside him. Those are external factors outside of just coaching, how do we control for that? Based on the studies I can remember, players and their teammates have a bigger influence on their offensive efficiency than coaching/role. But its definitely all tied together. I just give more credit to the players than a coach that for all we know, may be holding his team back, the way Spo did in Y1.


Part of that is not getting double teamed as much. I think part of that is Mike Brown always did ISO, and in Miami there were a lot of fast-break and transition points (which are high percentage and which the Spurs defended against by taking care of the ball, making Miami less effective offensively). That might have just been playground chemistry with Wade and LBJ, or it might have been coaching. I dunno...
You forgot to mention his improved post play and the fact that he played more small ball 4 (which has shown to enhance the offensive statistics of just about every swing, tho it does hurt their defensive efficiency some). I actually hold it against Spo for taking so long to realize how to best utilize his talent. That said, Brons greatest statistical seasons (including efficiency) have come in both Cleveland AND Miami. So its not quite the difference you imagine, his FG% was higher but his overall efficiency wasn't drastically different. In fact some of his Cleveland years best some of his Miami years.




But coaches can improve players offensively. Curry has the highest 2p% in his career this year under Kerr, and Draymond Green is shooting the lights out under Kerr as well. Klay is having a career year behind the arc under Kerr, and Harrison Barnes is head-and-shoulders above his career best under Kerr. Now these are young guys who would naturally be improving, but setting up the right spacing and running the right plays, opens things up for players and gets them better shots. Barnes especially. Dud shot under .400 last year and dropped from his rookie year; this year he's shooting over .500. That is a HUGE jump. Draymond's green's 2P% is also WAY up... his FG% looks about the same, but he is taking 2 more 3pt shots a game and has improved his FG%. His 2P% when from .467 to .541. That is a huge jump.
I cant help but think you overstate the difference but cmon bro, Draymond Green is literally in his 2nd year, wouldn't you expect these guys to improve, its certainly far more common than not.

Kerr is definitely utilizing the team better than that idiot MJ ever did, but hes also paying attention to his assistant and man is that one helluva coaching staff. But for all the talk about how improved GS has been offensively, its defensively where they've experienced the biggest gains. The league averages in offensive and defensive efficiency are pretty much consistent with last year so we can look at raw efficiency to see the growth.


Offensive RTG - Defensive RTG
2013: 107.5 - 102.6
2014: 109.1 - 97.6
Diff.: +1.6 - +5

I noticed you mentioned a few GS players but ignored the decline from Iggy or Bogut's per possession efficiency dwindle. This is why I prefer to look at the entirety of a teams performance while taking into account those role changes. What Kerr has done is for the good of the team so your point about him improving the offense still stands tho. My only point is that its a result of those systematic changes you mentioned + improved skillsets on the part of the players. This time last year, Klay would not have been ready for this kind of role, regardless of whos coaching. Thats why I give credit to the guys most responsible and its not the coaches, at least not offensively.


I wouldn't suggest Spo did as impressive a job as Kerr has already done, but it seems clear that Spo did a better job of using LBJ on offense than Mike Brown ever did. This Cavs team is going to need some time together to run like a champion, so numbers might be misleading with such a small sample size so early in their first year together, but I think it is fair to say that Spo was doing something right. I'm just curious as to how much he was doing right.
He stumbled upon it by accident, it took Bosh getting hurt for him to ditch his outdated schemes. It took Bibby proving he had nothing left in the tank to realize Rio was his best PG. Spo is a good coach but I dont know how much credit you're trying to give him, maybe Im misunderstanding you but it seems overblown.

MTar786
12-12-2014, 05:55 AM
You are right, FG% needs to be taken in a broader context, but at the same time, claiming that coaches can't make a huge impact on offense is greatly flawed. Look at Sloan... that guy made average guys look great on offense with his system. D-Will plays under Sloan, he looks like the best PG in the league. D-Will leaves, he looks like a chump.

Pop is the same way. So many guys look great offensively playing for Pop (except Richard Jefferson), and then can't even get minutes on lottery teams. And it's not just when TD and Parker are on the floor, because Pop benches those guys all the time and plays with supporting cast and they are almost as efficient.

Do coaches make the biggest difference defensively? I can get behind that for sure. You can teach defense. You can't always teach a guy to read a defender in the post, or react to a defender on the wing. Either you got that or you don't (though it can be improved). Where as on defense, you can teach players, or develop systems that hide certain players' weaknesses.

I'm not disagreeing with that, I'm just suggesting that there are coaches who can improve players offensively as well, and some (Sloan, Pop) know how to make players better offensively.

Kerr seems to be doing that. I just read an interview with Barnes saying that he sucks as ISO, but the system Kerr has gets him open shots, and lets him move away from the ball, and that makes him more efficient.


As for FG%, it is a key marker of efficiency. Yes, there are others, not the least of which is turnovers and fouls, but if everybody on your team is shooting a higher percentage than they were last year, chances are that you are playing much more efficient basketball.

wow i love all your points jasonjohnhorn
I def have to agree with you on the debate between u guys

Chronz
12-12-2014, 11:50 AM
Sloan and Pop/Phil were one of the few coaches that stood out as offensive guys IIRC.

AllBall
12-12-2014, 03:50 PM
That's not hard to do in the East though.

I think he was the man for the job during the big 3.

Oh, the joys of revisionist history. :rolleyes:

The EAST was WAY more competitive before the Big 3 era in Miami that consisted of a competitive Magic team with Dwight, competitive Cavs team with Lebron and Championship Boston team. Please go.