Los Angeles Lakers Phil Jackson: The Greatest NBA Coach of All Time

Phil Jackson does not look like the greatest coach of all-time. He refuses to call time-outs during difficult stretches, coaches from an over-sized booster seat and often appears bored or aloof during critical moments of games.

He may not look like a great coach, but looks can be deceiving.


Phil vs. Red

Phil’s resume speaks for itself. His 11 NBA championships place him two ahead of the legendary Red Auerbach. Auerbach won his titles in a different era. While he was coaching there were less than 10 NBA teams. Red never worried about players jumping to other teams because free agency didn’t exist.

The NBA is much different today. The number of teams has more than tripled since Auerbach’s days and star players often have more power over team management than their coaches do. Phil has won more titles in a more competitive era. He has won with multiple teams and multiple stars.

Critics argue that Phil’s 11 titles are a direct result of the talent he has coached. While he did coach Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, there have been other teams with tremendous talent that could not put the pieces together. How is the Miami Heat doing with its Super Friends experiment right now? How many titles did the Olajuwon, Barkley and Drexler/Pippen Houston Rockets win? Talent is necessary, but coaching makes all the difference.

Let’s go back to Auerbach’s Celtics for a moment. While he was a great coach, his teams were loaded with talent. He coached many Hall of Famers including Bill Russell, Bob Cousy and John Havlicek. If Phil only won because he had top players, the same must be said of Auerbach.


The Smartest Guy in the Room

The 82-game NBA season is a grueling marathon and Jackson manages accordingly. Does he stress over an early season loss? Of course not. Phil knows the difference between ...

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