Miami Heat

Heat’s Spoelstra a finalist for Coach of the Year honors

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has been named a finalist for the NBA's Coach of the Year award along with Houston's Mike D'Antoni and San Antonio's Gregg Popovich.
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has been named a finalist for the NBA's Coach of the Year award along with Houston's Mike D'Antoni and San Antonio's Gregg Popovich. pportal@miamiherald.com

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has been named a finalist for the NBA's Coach of the Year award along with Houston's Mike D'Antoni and San Antonio's Gregg Popovich.

Spoelstra, who along with D'Antoni was named co-recipient of the first-ever Coach of the Year Award presented by the National Basketball Coaches Association earlier this month, was the only finalist from the Heat for any of the league's six major awards voted on by a panel of 100 media members.

The winners for those awards will be revealed on the same day for the first time at the inaugural NBA Awards event on June 26at Basketball City in New York. Drake is hosting the event, which will air on TNT.

Spoelstra is looking to join Pat Riley as the only Heat coaches to earn the league's top coaching honor. Riley won it in 1997.

The only other winners in Heat history for the league's top awards include Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning as Defensive Player of the Year in 1999 and 2000, LeBron James as MVP in 2012 and 2013, and Rony Seikaly (1990) and Ike Austin (1997) as Most Improved Player.

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra revels in his team's buzzer-beating victory over the host Detroit Pistons on Tues., March 28, 2017.

James was surprisingly not a finalist for this season's hotly debated MVP award. Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kawhi Leonard were.

James Johnson (Most Improved Player, Sixth Man), Tyler Johnson (Sixth Man) and Hassan Whiteside (Defensive Player of the Year) were thought to be contenders for several awards but were not named finalists.

This year's awards show includes awards voted on by fans including Block of the Year where Whiteside is one of three nominees. In addition, next month's show will also unveil the All-Defensive and All-Rookie teams.

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