February 9, 2010
The recent five-game losing streak by the Heat has shifted reporters' attentions toward the man in the big seat; primarily inquiring into a potential schism between he and the team's star, Dwyane Wade. Contrary to many beliefs, all reports indicate that Coach Spo and D.Wade are not on bad terms and are ardently working to end the team's recent struggles.
But other questions are lurking regarding his decisions thus far. The point guard position has been one that has come under great criticism with the volatile playing distribution amongst Miami's three point guards. Whereas Mario Chalmers started all 82 games last season, he is rarely seen on the court today. In the month of January, Chalmers was utilized for 18.6 minutes per game on average. Prior to that, his playing minutes averaged out to 28.3 for the season; almost 10 minutes less. Mid-December marked the time that Carlos Arroyo took the role of starting point guard, but only for a brief stint as Rafer Alston was brought in to eventually take that spot. These changes have left the Heat with a major question mark looming above their point guard production.
Some will say that Coach Spo has not found the proper balance at the number one spot and is creating friction amongst his players as a result. That is yet to be determined.
Other factors must be taken into consideration before placing the blame on the head coach. Pending roster moves and trade deals are typically out of the control of the head coach, and with the trade deadline approaching there could be some negotiations in the works. It is plausible that the Heat are looking to move either Chalmers or Arroyo and Coach Spo is left with managing minutes with the trio until the trigger is pulled.
Team chemistry has also been brought to the lime light as Miami has yet to perform consistently and fluidly. Amidst a brief case of "bipolar disorder" the Heat have been very sporadic in their performances; dominating one night by 20 points and faltering the next by 30.
Only three elements can be at the heart of this issue: 1) Coach Spo is not motivating and uniting the team effectively, 2) co-captains Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem are not acting as leaders in the locker room, or 3) the team is simply not good enough. The jury is still out on this one, but fans and members of the press are urgently asking for a verdict.
In essence, there is blame to spread beyond Miami's young head coach. In a league that has fired coaches in the double-digits over the past two seasons, its clear that much pressure is placed on the man with the clipboard. In this case, blame can be be spread throughout the Heat organization, from the tops of the front office to the bottoms of the locker room.