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.