Coaches like to learn from each other. Not only within their own sport but also from great coaches in other sports — during the lockout the Heat’s Erik Spoelstra spent time with Chip Kelly, the Oregon football coach, trying to learn about space and attacking.
Spoelstra also once sought advice from Doc Rivers.
Spoelstra attended a coaching clinic where Rivers was one of the speakers. A. Sherrod Blakely talked to both men about it for CSNNE.com.
“While he’s highly regarded in his schematics and X’s and Os, I was more curious about the management of personalities,” Spoelstra said. “That’s really ultimately what it’s about in this league….”
Rivers recalls looking out in the audience and seeing Spoelstra.
“You’re talking to 200 coaches and you see Erik there, you’re like, ‘I’m not going to say this … ATO (after-timeout) stuff, I’m not sharing that,” quipped Rivers.
At the NBA level, management of egos and personalities is a lot of the job. Your role players were the best player on their high school and college teams, now you’re asking them to come off the bench 20 minutes a night and fill a role. You’re getting guys to buy into a system.
Rivers has done that as well as any coach going. Spoelstra… it’s a work in progress.