Is Phil Jackson Actually the Best Coach in NBA History?

In the brief time between the NBA Draft and the Free Agency/LeBron Bonanza, I wanted to talk about another person who's future decision may greatly affect the make up of the league for the 2010-2011 season: Phil Jackson.

Phil Jackson is widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the league, and in the league's history. His winning pedigree certainly speaks for itself and is a testament to that notion. Jackson has been a coach for nineteen seasons, and during those nineteen seasons he has 19 playoff berths, 13 Finals appearances, and 11 NBA Championships!

Jackson, while noted as a great coach, has also been the benefactor of talent filled teams. During his tenures in Chicago and Los Angeles, Phil has had the luxury of five-time MVP Michael Jordan and only one-time MVP Kobe Bryant leading his teams. Having arguably the league's best player on your team certainly makes a coaching job much easier.

Given the fact that Phil has never really had a bad set of players, it begs the question: Exactly how good is Phil Jackson as a coach?

I know Jackson is the Zen Master, with his triangle offense. I know he put a sock on the cornrowed Tyronn Lue in 2001 to stimulate Allen Iverson in 2001. I know he is a great coach. But give any coach MJ or Kobe and they can lead the team to the playoffs too, right?

I would be particularly interested to see how Phil Jackson would fare as a coach of a team with much less talent than the Bulls and the Lakers over the years (Note: Bulls were Jordan-less in 93-84 but they still had HOF’er Scottie Pippen; Lakers were Kobe-less for six weeks in 99-00 but they still had Shaquille O’Neal).

No one is doubting Jackson's legacy as a coach, but to further cement his own legacy as the greatest NBA coach ever, I would love to see him come back next year with a team other than the Lakers. I...

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