Erik Spoelstra voted top coach by NBA GMs, but Heat picked to fall to fifth in East – The Denver Post


Even with Erik Spoelstra voted the top coach in the NBA in the annual survey of league general managers, respect for the Miami Heat continues to wane despite last season’s top seed in the Eastern Conference.

In the coaching section of the survey, Spoelstra received 55 percent of the votes, with Golden State coach Steve Kerr a distant second with 22 percent of the votes. It is the second consecutive year that Spoelstra topped that part of the survey.

When it came to the category of best motivator among coaches, Spoelstra placed third, behind Kerr and Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams.

In addition, Spoelstra topped the poll for best defensive schemes and tied Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse for second, behind the Los Angeles Clippers’ Tyronn Lue, in the category of best in-game adjustments.

In other coaching elements of the survey, the Heat’s Maik Allen and Chris Quinn were among those who received votes for best assistant coach, with Heat point guard Kyle Lowry receiving votes among players viewed as potentially excelling at coaching.

As for the team rankings, the survey placed the Heat fifth in the East behind, in order, the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets, and just ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In the player categories, there were no votes cast for Lowry for best point guard, Bam Adebayo for best center or Jimmy Butler for best small forward. In addition, no Heat player was forecast to have a breakout season.

Adebayo was not in the top three in the category of best defensive player, but did place third to Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Golden State’s Draymond Green as most versatile defender.

For their part, the Heat tied the Bucks for third-best defensive team, behind the Celtics and Warriors.

Butler did receive a vote among those viewed as best leader.

Also, after being voted a year ago as having the NBA’s best offseason, when they added Lowry and P.J Tucker, the Heat did not receive a vote in that category this time around. Lowry had been voted a year ago as the NBA’s biggest offseason acquisition, a vote headed this year by Cleveland’s addition of Donovan Mitchell.

Go time

With Tuesday marking the start of the Heat’s five-game exhibition schedule there were contrasting opinions after the morning shootaround about the value of the preseason.

“It should be quicker than normal,” forward Max Strus said of the adjustments to game conditions to a team that has 14 players back from last season. “It should click faster. We’re all pretty comfortable with each other already. So it should stream faster than other teams.”

But forward Caleb Martin said ahead of Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at FTX Arena that it doesn’t mean that cohesion should be assumed.

“Honestly,” he said, “it’s most of the same team back, but we feel like we got to work on different things, so it’s still an adjustment. So it feels a little bit different. But all of us have good chemistry together, so I don’t think it’ll take too much to get together.”

Strus agreed that no matter the familiarity, chemistry still can take time.

“We were away all summer,” he said, “so still getting used to each other and then just getting back in the flow of things.”

While most of the faces are back, the preseason still will be needed to sort out the rotation.

“The rotation will definitely change,” Martin said, “but we’ve just got to stay patient and figure things out.”

Sooner, Strus said, rather than later.

“There’s really not room for error this year,” he said. “The East is going to be tough. So we don’t have time to sit back and relax. We’ve got to get out there from the jump and get off to a good start.”



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