|ESPN.com: Heat Index||[Print without images]|
|After the Heat's Finals loss, Erik Spoelstra wanted to change things up. He found an answer in Oregon.|
|Chip Kelly's speedy spread offense was an inspiration for Spoelstra.|
“Spoelstra's discoveries from his conversations with Kelly were reinforced during the role-playing exercise. Everything needed to be fast, instinctual and responsibly impulsive. That includes forgoing play calls every time down the court. Spoelstra realized that the Heat's playing style and roster didn't need to be confined by convention. No, the traditional principles of coaching become obsolete when three superstars, two of whom are perennial MVP candidates, decide to play together. And the Heat's trio is largely interchangeable, especially with Bosh adding a 3-point shot and LeBron polishing his post game. "The more that we've tried to think conventionally in terms of guys playing just a specific position, it restricted us a little bit," Spoelstra said. "We can put pressure on teams to adjust to us." Spoelstra and Riley understood that a change of philosophy was in order. So they drew up a game plan. They'd sell the players and potential free agents on an offense built on a foundation similar to Riley's "Showtime." Once the lockout ended, the Heat added to their fleet of versatile wings by signing free agent Shane Battier as part of the team's vision to load up on players who could render positional lines obsolete. With an up-tempo vision in place and a roster filled with players who could fill any of the positions from 1 to 4, the Heat want to be unconventional and deploy lineups that may not have a traditional center. Everything began to come into place. The elderly, lumbering centers of last season were gone. Bosh bulked up with a goal of averaging double-digit rebounds. The Heat's speedy draft pick Norris Cole took training camp by storm. LeBron and Dwyane stayed in sensational shape in the offseason. All according to plan. "We don't have Dwight Howard," Riley said. "We don't have an 18-rebound guy. We don't have a 7-foot-2-inch guy who's going to take care of that stuff. Playing bigger and thinking bigger is trying something new." That sounds all well and good, but a challenge remained.
We don't have a 7-foot-2-inch guy who's going to take care of that stuff. Playing bigger and thinking bigger is trying something new.” -- Heat president Pat Riley
|Getting stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to buy into the new offense was critical for Spoelstra.|
|Erik Spoelstra wants LeBron James to play more power forward, a move he's resisted in the past.|
And [Chris] Bosh? He's gushing about Spoelstra's new groove for a different reason: You can't really scout it.