Last season, in the run up to the season, Erik Spoelstra tried to make the Heat’s identity a team that used pressure defense and fast break attacks to overwhelm opponents. And at the start of the season they did that.
But as the season wore on the Heat’s pace dropped back to about the league average (a little below, actually, they finished 19th in the league). In part that was due to injuries, in part due to teams adjusting to what the Heat tried to do. The Heat did play faster than the year before, but not fast all the time (only in spurts).
So guess what Spoelstra’s mantra is again going into this season? From Ira Winderman at the Sun Sentinel.
Talking to WQAM on Tuesday, Spoelstra shed some light on his game plan for next season.
“I hope to play faster,” Spoelstra said. “We turned it up a gear last year and I think we have the personnel to hopefully go even faster. I think with a normal training camp and a normal season we can build up that habit even more.”
I can find you 29 other NBA head coaches who are vowing to play faster this year, too. It must be part of the “Off-Season Cliche Handbook” the NBA passes out to coaches.
Obviously, part of this is how healthy Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are when they return next season. Wade has said he will be playing his way into trusting his knee, which means he could be a step slower to start.
It seems like the Heat might if they do play more small ball with Chris Bosh at the five. But one of the more knowledgeable Heat guys out there, Couper Moorhead, suggested Bosh may not start at the five next year. He likely finishes games there, but not always start. And if the Heat are saving the small lineup, we’ll see how fast they really play.
But, we know what Spoelstra wants.