Erik Spoelstra entered the 2016-17 NBA season with a lot stacked against him. The Miami Heat opened the season in a rebuilding mode. Heat President Pat Riley had admitted that he never expected the team to win this year so the turnaround not only shocked fans but might have shocked the Heat administration as well. It was enough to earn Spoelstra the NBA Coach of the Year award but does he really have a chance to knock off other successful coaches to capture it?

The Miami Heat turnaround

The work that Erik Spoelstra did with the Miami Heat was incredible.

Spoelstra took a team with no real stars and opened the season with an 11-30 record. However, over the last 41 games of the NBA season, Erik led the Heat to a 30-11 record to finish the season with a .500 record and almost make the playoffs. The Heat then lost a tiebreaker for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

This Miami Heat turnaround was the biggest turnaround in NBA history. An even bigger sign of the coaching of Erik Spoelstra was that the team executed this turnaround with 328 player games lost to illness or injury.

The inaugural Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award has already been handed out. NBA coaches choose these winners and both Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat and Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets won the awards.

The competition to Erik Spoelstra

From the look of the inaugural Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award, the biggest competition to Erik Spoelstra is Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni. He led the Rockets to the third seed in the Western Conference with the third-best record in the NBA (55-27). The Rockets broke the NBA record with 1,181 three-pointers.

The Rocket's turnaround this year was 14 games.

The third option for winning the award is none other than Gregg Popovich. The man is always in competition for Coach of the Year honors and he did something that Erik Spoelstra could not quite achieve. The San Antonio Spurs actually made it into the NBA playoffs and made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals where his team lost to the Golden State Warriors.

Erik Spoelstra only finished the season with a .500 record. Only three coaches in NBA history has ever won the Coach of the Year award with a losing record. The last one came when Doc Rivers led the Orlando Magic to a 41-31 record in 2000, missing the NBA playoffs by just one game. With 16 straight seasons of winning coaches taking home the award, Spoelstra has his work cut out for him.