LeBron James has played for his fair share of coaches throughout his career, but for the most part, Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is considered by many to be the best coach James has had.
Spoelstra also had a path similar to that of current Lakers head coach Luke Walton, which has led to obvious comparisons being made. Much like Walton, Spoelstra was an extremely young head coach when he was hired by the Heat.
He was at the helm of the team for a couple of years before everything changed with James joining the franchise. Also similar to Walton, there was speculation about a coaching change after a rough start.
Needless to say, no one understands Walton’s situation better than Spoelstra, and the Heat coach believes Walton is the perfect coach for James and the Lakers, via ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk:
“I told [Walton] the same thing I’ll tell everybody else,” Spoelstra said before James scored 51 points against his former club and the Lakers beat Miami 113-97 on Sunday night. “He’s the perfect guy to coach that team. He has purple and gold bleeding from him. He is a Laker. He did a tremendous job with Golden State when he had to take over for Steve [Kerr].
“And if you look at his whole professional career, all of [it] he has been involved with are teams like this with great expectations, with a lot of pressure and a lot of noise,” Spoelstra continued. “He doesn’t know any different. I don’t think you can find a better fit to coach that team.”
In James’ first season in Miami the Heat started 9-8 and many believed Spoelstra could be on the way out, but he survived and they ultimately won 58 games. The Lakers have already begun straightening things out after a 2-5 start and are now 9-7 after defeating the Heat in Miami.
Of course, Spoelstra is going to support his fellow coach, but he is right in that Luke is a Laker at heart and is used to the pressure that comes with the job. Whether that leads to the ultimate success for Walton remains to be seen.