Spoelstra Trying to Control the ‘Noise’
Specific defensive assignments and planned substitution patterns can be considered proprietary, competitive information, so on some level it’s understandable why (Erik) Spoelstra wouldn’t tip his hand. He acts like a football coach, either not disclosing injuries or being vague about them — like a basketball version of Bill Belichick saying with a straight face that his kick returner has an “injury to his body.”
Maybe the NBA should take a page from the NFL and require coaches to list players on an injury report, although I’m afraid in many cases that would only put the deceit in writing.
On the other hand, it’s difficult to separate Spoelstra’s pursuit of competitive advantage from his Pat Riley-inspired mission to obfuscate at every turn. Why, for example, Spoelstra couldn’t simply say before Game 1 that James Jones was unavailable because he had a migraine is pure silliness. Spoelstra himself admitted that he wouldn’t mind telling Oklahoma City, but he just wasn’t going to say it in a press conference. Why not?
“I don’t think it’s a competitive advantage,” Spoelstra said. “I just, [it's] one of the few times that hopefully we can control a little bit of the noise out there. We don’t have to get into the debate about the pluses or minuses about it before the game. The guys can just focus in, get into their iPads and focus on the game.”
As if the guys are gathered in the players’ lounge watching the pre-game press conference.