Veteran guard Juwan Howard lauded Spoelstra's role in helping the team blend together, from stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh meshing on the court to veterans like Howard and Mike Miller finding their roles.
"It's challenging, but Spoelstra has done a great job with all of that," Howard said, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.
But Howard didn't stop at just complimenting his coach — he took his praise to the comparison level.
"He sort of reminds me of Doc [Rivers]," Howard said. "Spo doesn't get a lot of credit for blending all these personalities."
That may be true, but the likely reason Spoelstra hasn't been getting much credit for blending the personalities is because, over the past two years, they haven't blended all that well. Miami appears to be in good shape at this point in the Finals, but plenty of times this postseason it looked like the Heat were ready to revert to the days of not knowing who should do what or how everyone should be involved.
Then there was that giant blowup between Wade and Spoelstra, just one of several instances where the young coach didn't seem to know how to handle his guys.
If anything, the dividing line between Spoelstra and a championship-winning coach like Rivers has been just that — that Spoelstra has the talent and big-game wins under his belt, but he hasn't proven he can manage his team the way that's needed for a title. Even James has singled out Rivers' unique ability in getting Boston's Big Three to go to new levels, especially during this year's run.
Spoelstra may be proving himself as a coach, as Howard says, and getting along better with his players, as Mannix writes, but let's hold off the comparisons until the accomplishments are equal.