The NBA announced the voting results for Coach of the Year Monday night. Erik Spoelstra finished a distant third behind Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns, who won the award, and Taylor Jenkins of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Erik Spoelstra finished third in the Coach of the Year voting with one first-place vote, 16 second-place votes and 19 third-place votes. pic.twitter.com/0mV8lNNB7q— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) May 9, 2022
Spoelstra and Tyler Herro were the only Heat finalists for awards this season; Herro, of course, won the Sixth Man of the Year award. Bam Adebayo finished fourth in Defensive Player of the Year voting.
Despite never having won the Coach of the Year award, the NBA named Spoelstra as one of the top 15 coaches in NBA history in February. The coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, Doc Rivers, also made the list. Spoelstra and Rivers are locked in a 2-2 second-round playoff battle right now.
Pundits and prognosticators didn’t predict the Heat to finish the regular season as the East’s top seed. And if they had known Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry would all miss significant time, they certainly wouldn’t have expected it. But Spoelstra helped plug holes all season long, showcasing his creativity. He empowered P.J. Tucker to do more than shoot corner 3s, but move the Heat offense along.
Remember when injuries to Adebayo and Dewayne Dedmon forced Spoelstra to play Omer Yurtseven big minutes? And it didn’t crash down? That had a lot to do with Spoelstra.
The Heat coach has his own challenges to address in this playoff series, though. Should he shut down Kyle Lowry for the rest of this series, since he’s not 100 percent? I’ve already said he needs to bring Duncan Robinson back in the rotation.