Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra narrowly missed out on winning the Coach of the Year award on Monday.
The award was announced during the first ever NBA Awards show. Spoelstra went up against Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets and Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs. D'Antoni ended up taking home the honor for his work with the title-contending Rockets.
Spoelstra's Heat started the year as one of the worst teams in the NBA and then remained in playoff contention until the final day of the season. The remarkable turnaround was historic and exciting for a young team. A lot of the credit for that second half goes to Spoelstra, who is known for getting the most out of his players.
Since becoming the head coach of the Heat in 2008, Spoelstra has led the team to two NBA titles. Even when Miami hasn't brought home the trophy, the team has remained competitive most seasons. Through roster changes and injuries, Miami has been known for strong work ethic and the ability to never quit.
This would have been the first Coach of the Year award in Spoelstra's career, but it may not be the last chance he has. Miami will enter the 2017-18 season with some renewed optimism and Spoelstra could put himself in a position to take home this award again.
Over the years, players have heaped praise on the coach, who began his storied NBA career way back in 1995. Spoelstra at the time was Miami's video coordinator. It took some time and dedication, but Spoelstra worked his way up and replaced the legendary Pat Riley on the bench.
The Heat will look to improve Spoelstra's roster as the off-season continues. Following the NBA draft last week, Miami will soon begin work in free agency. The NBA's free agent period officially begins on July 1st.