MIAMI – The Miami Heat finished in the top seven in each ESPN’s polls that ranked teams’ coaches, management (president/GM) and owner, but it was one of those rankings that makes you wonder.
The management team of Pat Riley and Andy Elisburg was slotted behind San Antonio, Golden State, Boston, Houston, Cleveland and Toronto in the president/GM rankings.
The Heat have won three titles and played in five Finals under the current management team and they are among the very best in developing players. Take away the Spurs and the rest of those franchises combined have as many titles in the 2000s as the Heat.
If we’re talking conference titles. … Toronto has never played in the Finals and Houston hasn’t been there in more than 20 years.
Breaking down wins since 2010, only San Antonio with 58.8 per season has more than Miami’s 51.5. The others in order: Golden State, 49.5; Houston, 45.5; Boston, 41.5; Toronto, 38.6; Cleveland, 34.
Nobody will argue that San Antonio has been the most successful franchise in the short and long term (the criteria was how the management team affected on-court success in the short and long term), but no other organization has shown the consistency in the way it runs its franchise for the short and long terms, the way it is able to build a champion, recognize when it’s time to move on, and then rebuild for another successful run than Miami.
And one of the most impressive accomplishments of them all is what the Heat have done this year, winning 26 of 34 after starting 11-30.
Frankly, ranking Miami behind Cleveland, Toronto and Houston is a joke. OK, want to argue Golden State and Boston, I’ll give you that but I still would have the Heat second on this list.
Erik Spoelstra was ranked fourth among coaches, behind San Antonio’s Greg Popovich, Golden State’s Steve Kerr and Boston’s Brad Stevens. Spoelstra is gaining as much (if not more) praise for what he is doing this year than what he did while leading the Heat to four straight Finals appearances and two titles during the Big Three era.
Miami is 26-8 after starting the season 11-30 and a win tonight at home against the Knicks would make the Heat the first team in league history to reach .500 after being 19 games under during that season.
Micky Arison came in fifth in the owner rankings, behind the Spurs, Warriors, Celtics and Rockets. As a result, the Heat are fifth in the overall management rankings – a combination of coach, president/GM and owner – behind San Antonio, Golden State, Boston and Houston.