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Spoelstra says Heat need to “reinvent” themselves to win again

Jul 31, 2012, 3:50 PM EDT

The Miami Heat celebrate their victory i Getty Images

When the Miami Heat won the NBA title in 2006 they partied the entire summer away then showed up with essentially the same roster in the fall and thought they could just roll to another title.

They rolled to a first round playoff exit, then continued rolling down the hill getting worse and worse the next three years.

Eric Spoelstra gets the lesson. While the perception around the league is that the Heat are going to win a couple more rings in the next few years he knows they can’t just roll out there and expect it to happen. Here is what he said while on a tour of Asia, via Ira Winderman at the Sun Sentinel.

“If we learned one thing from the 2006 title, it was that you need to continue to reinvent yourself and improve as a basketball team,” Spoelstra said. “That year we brought the exact the same team back, we thought it would be the same path and same journey. It never is.

“It’s always going to be different. And we ended up losing the first round and we were swept in four games. Another year later, we only won 15 games and we were the worst team in basketball and that’s how fragile this game can be.”

The Heat have added some shooters with Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. They hope to have a healthier Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh for their playoff run next season. And they have the weight of expectations off their shoulders.

They also learned what really worked (going small for longer) in the playoffs, and you can expect to see a lot more of that next season.

Which is to say, the Heat should be better. They need to be. Boston should be better, as will the Thunder and Lakers in the West. If you stay the same in the NBA, you are getting worse.

Spoelstra and the Heat learned that. Starting this fall we’ll see if they can apply that lesson.

  1. omie34 - Jul 31, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    The heat are deep now. They’re a MUCH better team than they were their first year together. And lebron is in absolute beast mode. Unless kobe can outplay lebron the finals or durant can outplay him in the coming years no one is stopping them till lebron starts to decline

    • aboogy123456 - Jul 31, 2012 at 4:20 PM

      kobe doesn’t need to outplay lebron and neither does durant, both kobe and durant have much better supporting casts than lebron, and it’s not even close.

      • rforr3tard3d - Jul 31, 2012 at 4:25 PM

        Yeah, because the Lakers aren’t 4-1 since the big 3 came together and Durant has a ring right now, right? Stay mad, dude

      • dls612 - Jul 31, 2012 at 4:37 PM

        Where was the thunder supporting casts during the finals! The east showed the west the meaning of defense! And Kobe supporting casts didn’t help him get pass the 2nd round! Or was it the first?

      • finsfan71 - Jul 31, 2012 at 4:46 PM

        Oh yeah, OKC really shined against Wade with a bad knee and Bosh with a bad muscle pull. And their bench really gave the Heat what for.

      • scorp16 - Jul 31, 2012 at 4:59 PM

        “kobe and durant have much better supporting casts than lebron, and it’s not even close.”

        Yeah..Harden was great in the supporting cast role in his Finals disappearance. So was Perkins come to think about it. So exactly who makes up this “supporting cast” for OKC? Ibaka? Sefalosha? Oh wait…I know….. it must be Hasheem Thabeet. Really?

      • passerby23 - Jul 31, 2012 at 6:44 PM

        @ scrop16

        Harden, Collison, Ibaka, and Sefolosha are solid supporting players. Perkins is useful against certain teams. Cook is a specialist. Thabeet and Perry Jones are wildcards. We’ll see what happens. They also have Maynor coming back, who is an excellent backup PG. OKC has a good supporting cast.

        That being said, Miami just got better too.

      • borderline1988 - Aug 1, 2012 at 10:04 AM

        Lebron finally got a supporting cast when he came to Miami. Result: 2 Finals appearances, and a championship.

        They are by far the class of the east now, and it is almost guaranteed that they will be in the Finals again next year.

        Although, to be honest, the Heat are not as complete as the Spurs, OKC, or the Lakers. But it doesn’t matter at this point. Lebron might just be the greatest all-around player in NBA history.

  2. finsfan71 - Jul 31, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Don’t know if they’ll win again but they will be entertaining to watch nonetheless.

  3. paulhargis53 - Jul 31, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Every fan of of every team says that every year. You don’t see many repeats nowadays. Just be happy with the one for now, how about that?

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 1, 2012 at 12:14 AM

      Don’t worry Paulie…. We’re all very happy. Championship DVD just went on sale, and all you have to do is click on the box in the upper right corner to shop all Heat Championship Gear

  4. sellahh - Jul 31, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Well, it seems coach Spo is a very wise man, he just tries to make his players hungry again. He knows some tend to get content and he surely knows it’s way tougher to repeat rather than get your first chip. If the Heat get content at any time, LBJ especially, their chances of repeating fade.

  5. butterednuts86 - Jul 31, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Ok.. Kobe has a better supporting cast than lebron???? The lakers bench was DEAD LAST – thats right… DEAD LAST- in scoring last year… So how is kobes supporting cast better than lebrons??? Especially when you consider that lebron has TWO top 15 players STARTING WITH HIM!!

    • sellahh - Jul 31, 2012 at 5:34 PM

      LeBron has one top5-7, i’d say, player in DWade (considering his recent injuries and playoff perfomance) and a sure top-20-to-25 player in Bosh. Kobe has Pau who buckles under pressure and Drew who thinks ‘closout games tend to be easy’. I love my Lakers cause that’s what being a fan is. But I’m sure if LeBron had the cast Kobe had (as in prime Shaq, mostly) he’d be at 5 rings already and right now? Miami is deeper than LAL 1-through-10 and you cant possibly argue that cause the Lakers have 4 quality players as it is and that’s about it. I’m sure somebody like Jason Terry would help the Lakers a great deal. Or… Odom?… yeah

      • stpete2you - Aug 1, 2012 at 3:01 PM

        Funny how Lakers fans minimize the contributions of their so-called ‘supporting cast’ after they have a falling out with Kobe.

        Shaq was NBA Finals MVP in 2000, 2001, and 2002, but now history’s revisionists say he was part of Kobe’s supporting cast.

        Pau Gasol helped the Lakers win back-to-back titles with his scoring, rebounding, and shot blocking, but now he’s a guy who ‘buckles under pressure’.

  6. omie34 - Jul 31, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Ha I didn’t even have to defend myself. Thank you guys

  7. passerby23 - Jul 31, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    I think Spoelstra is right. It’s not just lip service. There are championship hangovers, injuries, age, fatigue, matchups, the fact that other teams get up to beat you every night, and so on. The Heat still have to be favorites, but Boston, OKC, and the Lakers are knocking on the door.

  8. j0esixpack - Jul 31, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    Why would they need to reinvent themselves?

    They dominated the West in the Finals… And from what I read here the only reason it was close against the Celtics is because the Heat were injured and tired while the Celtics were young and healthy.

    Seems like if they read PBT more they’d know they have nothing to worry about.

    • justafanfrommass - Jul 31, 2012 at 7:22 PM

      Just a correction, the Celtics were not young and healthy when they faced the Heat. Ray Allen was injured as evidenced by his post season surgery and his lack of production in the playoffs. And more importantly, their best defender and the only guard to be able to run with Rondo, was out with a shoulder injury. The Celtics lost but were the only team in the playoffs that actually stayed with the Heat and had the chance to take them. The Heat promised the fans a helluva lot of championships and they are two years behind on that promise so I believe the monkey is still on their back. The C’s are getting younger, longer and more athletic plus they play team ball. With Doc, Garnettt and Pierce to teach the young guns the proper way to play, number 18 will be hanging in the rafters well before the Heat hit their prediction of eight (which I do not believe will happen or even come close to happening).

      • j0esixpack - Aug 2, 2012 at 4:39 PM

        I was being facetious – as a certain reporter who will go un-named seems to think that the only reason the Celtics got as far as they did was because a weak, injured Heat team was facing a strong healthy Celtics team.

        The reality is that even a biased Heat fan/reporter (or Celtics hater) would admit that at the very least the Celtics were AS injured as the Heat, if not MORE injured and of course their star players were MUCH older than the Heat Big Three.

        You wouldn’t know that if you get your NBA news around here.

    • truthhurtstoo - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:36 AM

      The HEAT OWN the celticks….get used to it.

    • borderline1988 - Aug 1, 2012 at 10:13 AM

      What you heard was exactly correct. The only reason why that series was close was because the Celtics were healthy and the Heat were not. When Bosh came back, the series was over.
      Last year, when the Heat were healthy (and not playing as well as this year), they beat the Celtics in 5 games.

      Go cry me a river. The Heat are clearly better than the Celtics.

      • j0esixpack - Aug 2, 2012 at 4:41 PM

        Yes – if Kurt prints it enough we can revise history to show that the Celtics were only able to push the series to the final minutes of Game 7 because an old injured Heat team was able to overcome a young and healthy Celtics team.

        Avery Bradley had a great series against the Heat – while Allen and Pierce were clearly in top health and in the prime of their career.

  9. butterednuts86 - Jul 31, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    West> East

    • scorp16 - Jul 31, 2012 at 7:17 PM

      East’s Best Team > West’s Best Team”……………..Your Point?

    • jimmymarlinsfan - Jul 31, 2012 at 7:18 PM

      Who is the champ fool?

  10. canehouse - Jul 31, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    obviously Spo is saying that they need tp stay hungry and sending a message to his team that last season should soon be put on the shelf and they better be ready for an awakening on the day training camp opens!!!

    • loungefly74 - Jul 31, 2012 at 8:13 PM

      nailed it, canehouse. yep, spo is just saying the right things for his team to stay motivated…and he knows his team has a great shot to repeat.

  11. pop562 - Jul 31, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    The celtics has a deep team with the addition if courtney lee, jason terry and bringing back Avery Bradley. The celtics had lots of injury… Ray Allen, pierce and only Bradley didn’t play. The celtics CAN beat the heats this year and I’m not a fan of either team. Celtics took the heats to game 7 and it might go down to the wire again depending in which team stays healthy. This time it won’t be a short season so there are going to be a lot of injuries.

    • borderline1988 - Aug 1, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      I admit the Celtics did get better in the off-season. They had a tremendous draft, and more than made up for the loss of Allen. But 2 points:

      1) We all talk about how long Garnett can last. I don’t think that’s the question, he can be effective for a while still. It’s Pierce that should have Celtics fans worried. He looked a step slow last year, and I have a feeling he will look a lot older this upcoming year. Especially if he’s not in tip-top shape, which he hasn’t been in for a while. The 3 spot will be a huge hole to fill, especially when you think about where the Heat’s strengths are.

      2) The Heat also got better. The Heat have proven unstoppable when their 3pt shooters are hitting their shots. So they brought in the best 3pt shooter in NBA history and a stretch 4. They are now deeper than ever.

    • SortaSports - Aug 1, 2012 at 11:20 AM

      Longer season also means more rest for players between games. Last years schedule had less games, sure, but in a much shorter amount of time (more games per week). Not only were players more fatigued with many more back to backs, and fewer consecutive off days, but many argued that the increased and condensed fatigue and stress on the body led to more stress/strain and fatigue related injuries.

      So really you are looking at is ‘more games with normal possibility of getting injured’ vs ‘greater possibility of getting injured in less games’. So its pretty much a wash.

      You’re also forgetting the Bosh impact, and its ‘Heat’. Remember, the team that has owned the Celts in the Playoffs the last two years.

      • pop562 - Aug 2, 2012 at 11:17 PM

        The Celtics are improving each year in the playoffs and it shows. The Heats beat the Celtics in the playoff 2 years ago but last year, the Heats didn’t “Own” the Celtics…they pushed it to 7 games and gave the Heats a hard time. So I expect the same result this upcoming season with another game 7. Which teams stays healthy during the playoffs and their role players stepping up will win the series.

  12. congocash - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:40 AM

    Turiaf was the real captain of the ship….

  13. cornbreadbbqred - Aug 1, 2012 at 3:32 AM

    Shaq was the key culprit in the summer party fiasco of the first championship; and everybody fell in line with the big fella. That is, until he tried to face Riley down for making them work during practice, and was shipped out. Folks said Good Riddance, just like we all did to him in L.A.

  14. paulhargis53 - Aug 1, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    I never got the whole idea of rewatching the games. That season is over. Time to prepare for the next season.
    if you feel the need to waste $ on a DVD, that’s you’re right.
    The Celtics got much better. They have a team full of relentless defenders, I wouldn’t be so quick to write them off.

    But, you Heat fans are turning into the same type of fans the Lakers fans are.

    Don’t say you weren’t warned. Lebrons got his ring, his past mental make up says he is satisfied with that.

    No repeat for you, count on it.

    • heat256 - Aug 1, 2012 at 10:01 AM

      It must be tough being a Bucks fan. Keep your chin up, champ. Things will turn around for them soon.

    • SortaSports - Aug 1, 2012 at 11:25 AM

      Wow, you have so much baseless and useless knowledge. Thanks for spreading the wealth.

  15. paulhargis53 - Aug 1, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    The only point I’m going to argue at this time is the health of the Celtics last playoffs.
    Pierce- knee
    Allen – ankles
    Stiemsma-feet
    None at full strength.

    Bradley-out- shoulders
    Green-out- heart problems
    Wilcox-out- heart problems.

    If you’re going to play the injury card, at least tell the whole story.
    The Celtics were much more banged up than the Heat.
    Revisionist History works better for your argument though, right?

    • phillieseaglessixersflyers - Aug 1, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      Everyone is banged up at that time of the year so that cant be an excuse. They just didnt get it done when they had a chance to close it out game 6 in boston

    • brokerhenry - Aug 1, 2012 at 3:16 PM

      @Paulhargis53:

      You are wrong. The Celtics have an A player in Rondo and B players in Pierce and Garnet. The Heat have an A+ player in LeBron, an A player in D-Wade, who can be A+ if he is not battling injuries and an A player in Chris Bosh who can step up if need be. Look up Bosh’s numbers in Toronto when he had to do all the work. The Heat just added the hands down best 3 points shooter in the history of the NBA, plus he will not have to run around as much to get open. Chalmers is finding himself and his confidence in his abilities is a joy to behold. I love that little guy’s ego and the fact that he seems to learn from all the yelling at he gets from LeBron.

      Shane Battier proved that he can be a pesky defender and hit the open shots. Rashard Lewis was just not used the right way after his exit from Orlando. With Spoelstra’s background as a video coordinator, he will help Rashard find his groove again. The only real doubt on the team is Mike Miller. I think he should have had surgery on that back. The guy was a walking stiff. Just how are teams going to defend Miami in the 4th quarter? Are they going to play one-on-one with LeBron and D-Wade? I don’t think so. I expect the Heat to get back to the finals with that tenacious defense of theirs.

  16. SortaSports - Aug 1, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    Wade & Bosh > Pierce, Allen, Stiemsma, Bradley, Green, Wilcox

    now

    Healthy Allen, Wade & Bosh > Celtics Courtney Lee and Company

    lol

  17. quancao - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Coach Spo has to motivate. He has to reinvent himself as well. On the other hand, it is not a total reinvention. You start with what you’ve got. A core, a base, a process. Play intense pressure defense, stay fresh, wear the other team out…and develop a killer instinct. All dynasties do. That way, refs give you freebies and think twice about calling a foul on your stars.

    Ref lessons learned, in addition to the two years after the first championship and the year after Dallas, I don’t see the same lessons Coach suggested. Shaq never liked practice and he coasted even during games. And he was having family issues. Last year, even during tough times, players overcame their family stuff and used their own trauma to pull closer. Noone coasts on this team. Younger players who thought they were world beaters were immediately called out and put to task by the stars, who worked twice as hard. Completely different team. On the issue of staying hungry, look at both Wade and Bosh staying home. They are totally focused on the next rings, and they brought in another first class player in Lewis who is hungry for his first.
    On the last issue of finishing a game, Allen will be a key. He shoots without a conscience and he finishes. If Celtics continue to think they can bully Heat, Allen’s addition will now stop that. The Heat Big Three are no longer the younger brothers. Their time has come. So yes, it is recharge time, and this team will have a new personality. Not necessarily just Lebron’s team the way it used to be Dwayne’s team for him to finish the last 5 minutes the way MJ finished. Under Riley, hero ball has a new face. It is the face of the entire TEAM. That is why Pat is a different and in many ways better Coach than Phil Jackson. But even Phil Jackson wanted to coach a magic Johnson and a Lebron James. This Heat team is always going to remake itself. It is a very special group. Some time, we just need to sit back and observe.

    • brokerhenry - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:57 PM

      @quancao:

      That was very well said. I am pumped for the Heat season. Before moving here to Sydney, Australia, I took my family to the last Heat home game in the regular season. What is somehow not shown on TV during breaks is the fact that LeBron and D-Wade gather the guys around and they draw up plays, with the coaches looking on. You could tell that these guys finally got it and do get it that if they really want something, they have to work their butts off to get it. Nobel prizes and NBA championships are not given to chumps. You have to earn the damn thing. Guys, as a Heat fan, I want my team to be lucky like Robert Hory. That dude has what, 7 rings?! LeBron, Bosh and Wade must get 5. Just win guys!

  18. paulhargis53 - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    broker, we shall see. The Celtics are much, much deeper this year than last.

    They are much better overall defensively also. All 4 rotation guards are tenacious defenders. They have better bigs this year too.
    Look, I know the Heat are the favorites from the east. I just don’t think you should write off the Celtics so easily.

    Too the other turd who made 4 posts in a row…..what?

  19. dabig3 - Aug 1, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    With the addition of Allen and Lewis and if they can stay healthy the heat will nearly be impossible to defend. If you double down on any of the big three those two shooters with miller and battier will have an average of ten threes a game without blinking. Not too mention Chalmers can shoot. The heat are going to repeat again and all those hater will always keep hating.

  20. barkley4life - Aug 2, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Until any team in the East or the West can find an answer to Heat’s lineup when they go small and put Bosh at the 5 and Lebron at the 4 they are the favorites hands down and its not even close.

    It had the Celtics getting destroyed GM6 and GM7…and eliminated the Thunders thirds best player in Harden and Perkins was utterly useless. Durant was put on Mario Chalmers of all people because he couldn’t handle the assignment.

    Basketball is simple…best player on the court who makes his teammates better wins.

    Celtics fan if you think they are deeper now because they added more guards your insane. The only hope is that Jeff Green turns out to be a better player then he has played so far in his career. Without him you have no capable 3/4 that can guard Lebron. Please don’t even mention Paul Pierce he couldn’t guard a shadow at this point in his career.

  21. badintent - Aug 3, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    Just take the Heat up to West Palm Beach in June, the thousands of sharks ( Florida Shark convention) off the beach should remind them of what waits for them come October.By the way, they should feed all the gold digging Cubano hoes to the sharks.

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