It is a subject Erik Spoelstra would rather avoid.

Ever since he was put in this situation, he's run from the topic of his abilities as a coach. The everlasting smile disappears the moment Spoelstra, now in his fifth season with the Miami Heat, is asked about it.

He says what others think is their opinion. He says he has no concern about those who think his success is a product of coaching an abundance of talent.

"I just want to coach this team," Spoelstra said.

"I don't take it for granted. This is a dream opportunity. I want to make the most of it. I'm grateful for [team owner] Micky [Arison] giving me this opportunity. I couldn't care less what people say about it. I wouldn't rather be coaching any other team. I don't care what other people say. I'm not coaching to try to get credit. I want to be a part of something special, whatever my role is."

Add Spoelstra to the list of coaches who fail to get credit because they are surrounded with great players. He is in the same category as Phil Jackson, who won 11 titles while coaching Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.

Both have dealt with the pleasure and burden of being paired with superstars the bulk of their careers.

"It's just tough coaching in this league," Spoelstra said. "It just is. People think this is easy. It's never easy as a coach regardless of who you're coaching. The expectations never change."

Added former Milwaukee Bucks coach Jim Boylan, "When you have great players, you're supposed to win. When you don't have great players, you're supposed to win. Coaching is not an easy profession."

Spoelstra learned this the moment he reached the NBA forefront when he was placed in charge of the league's most scrutinized team three years ago. He became a target the moment LeBron James and Chris Bosh decided to play alongside Dwyane Wade in Miami so they could pursue multiple championships.

"I'm not presumptuous or naive about it," Spoelstra said. "There are a lot of coaches who could coach this team. There are probably some that could mess it up. I just don't want to be one of those people that screw it up. But I don't think I'm the only person that could coach this team."

Receiving credit has avoided Spoelstra throughout the ride. He did not receive a single vote for coach of the year last season despite leading the Heat to the league's third-best record and making a second straight appearance in the NBA Finals. This year, he finished second after the Heat won a league-best 66 games, including a 27-game winning streak.

Before the award was announced, Heat team president Pat Riley made his pitch for Spoelstra. Riley, who also coached Hall of Famers most of his career, had to win four championships before claiming the honor.