Phil Jackson: Another Third Straight NBA Finals Appearance

The Los Angeles Lakers won the Western Conference Finals by defeating the Phoenix Suns in six games. They will play in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive season (2008-2010).

This is a great accomplishment, because reaching the NBA Finals is very difficult, so doing it for three straight seasons is even more difficult.

I believe this accomplishment could not be possible without the coaching of the great Phil Jackson. In my opinion, Jackson is the greatest coach in NBA history and these past five seasons with the Lakers have helped remove any doubts otherwise.

Phil Jackson returned to coach the Lakers in 2005 after leaving the team in 2004. For the first time in his coaching career, Jackson accepted the task of coaching a team that was currently in a rebuilding phase.

The Lakers won just 34 games in the 2004-05 season prior to Jackson’s return and missed the playoffs, so this helped his career by proving that he didn’t always coach a talented team.

During this rebuilding period (2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons), the Lakers, with Jackson’s help, reached the playoffs but were eliminated in the first round. The rebuilding phase ended when the “Gasol trade” happened on February 1, 2008.

Now it was up to Phil to prove he can still coach a team to a championship, but this time was special because he was part of the team's rebuilding phase.

With the addition of Pau Gasol in the 2007-08 season, Jackson coached the Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference. They won 57 games that season in a Conference, which for the very first time in NBA history, every playoff team won at least 50 games in the regular season.

The 57 games the Lakers won that season were the third most wins in the entire league (Boston Celtics won 66 games and the Detroit Pistons won 59 games).

Believe it or not, the Lakers had more regular season wins...

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