OT: Phil Jackson

Submitted by Victory Collins on June 17th, 2010 at 7:13 PM

Win or lose tonight, what is your opinion on how good a coach this guy is?  On one hand, his teams have always been absolutely stocked with talent, including some of the top players of all time, and you never get the feeling he is doing all that much (maybe the Zen thing?), but on the other hand, I feel like not just any coach could lead immense talent to as many championships as he has.

My take?  Better than most coaches, but not as good as the number of his wins and championships due to his fortune with his rosters.  And kind of a smug douchebag in a way that reminds me of rich man's version of Danny Hope.



June 17th, 2010 at 7:29 PM ^

How many championships did Kobe or MJ win without him. I really hate these arguments where to be the best coach your team has to be devoid of talent and exceed all expectations. Who in your eyes is better than him? I'd say Pop and that's it.


June 17th, 2010 at 10:14 PM ^

A critical tool in evaluating the success of a coach is not just championships, but what have you done when you don't have the best players. With Phil we will never know as he always has had the guys. He is smart and has positioned himself into the best scenarios to succeed. Do these factors make him the greatest ever- no. Does it invite him into the discussion- yes.


June 18th, 2010 at 9:19 AM ^

In the two years without MJ in Chicago, he couldn't even manage the egos of the remaining players. Didn't come close to getting out of the eastern conference. Chicago on paper still had a good team. If he was a super coach those teams may have made the finals once, even if they would have been decimated by the Rockets. In summary, Phil Jackson needs a dominant force on his team and a good team. The dominant player keeps the other players in check, Phil get's the credit! Phil is an above average coach, but Red Auerbach's opinion didn't give Phil much praise! 

Zone Read Left

June 17th, 2010 at 8:08 PM ^

Last year Gasol was not nearly as good as this year. While he is very good this year, I would not call him one of the greatest players of all time.

Jackson is one of the best ever at managing the egos of a bunch of arrogant, rich, young athletes, and that's 80% of coaching in the NBA. Therefore, I consider him a great coach.


June 17th, 2010 at 8:28 PM ^

He's a good coach, but you've just described the world's greatest baby-sitter.  All that zen bullshit didn't really work in 2004, am I right?  Coaching is about being able to get a team to make adjustments.  He's almost never had to do it, and when he has, track record is sub-par.

FWIW, Gasol was playing at very close to the same level last year (all star alternate selection) -- I don't know where you came up with that statistic.  He's one of the top C / PF in the league; my top choice C in fantasy -- that picks in the money as long as he doesn't get hurt.  Seriously, though.. how stupid is Memphis?

Zone Read Left

June 17th, 2010 at 10:31 PM ^

Last year Gasol was probably one of the 20th-30th best players in the leauge (i,e. all-star alternate). This year I'd say he's one of the top 10 players and the #2 C behing Howard. Regardless, I'd rank this current crop of Lakers at around the same talent level as your average NBA champion. In fact, I think the Spurs dynasty was even more talented, but you don't hear anyone saying Pop is a mediocre coach and just got lucky to have great talent. Over the last 50 some years, Jordan, Russell, Magic, Bird, Wilt, and Kobe have combined for 31 championships. That number is even higher when you add in Wilt, Kareem, Duncan, and other legendary players. Point is, the majority of championship teams have had one of the 10 greatest players of all time, and you can't scoff at Jackson for only winning with great talent without scoffing at almost every championship coach. Jimmys and Joes...


June 18th, 2010 at 9:26 AM ^

That trade was orchestrated by the league, as well as Boston's. David Stern knows what teams brings the ratings up. I don't have solid evidence to back up my claim, but seriously, how stupid is Memphis? (Jery West was the GM) How smart is Danny Ainge? (Remember, the C's hadn't sniffed the playoffs for some time under Ainge) You decide!!!


June 17th, 2010 at 11:08 PM ^

Jordan was already the best player in the game and well on his way to best of all time when he chased Doug off. Shaq was not only the best player at the most important position, he had played in an NBA Final. And if Kobe wasn't the best player in the game at that point, he was awfully close. He may have managed the teams well...but NBA coaches don't develop players. Players develop themselves. And Phil will have gone down as winning Championships with the best player of all time, and the guy who may be 1-A. And had one of the top 3-4 centers of all time (and a guy some consider one of the top 50 of all time). Teams with the best players usually win. But he hasn't just had the best players of a given time, but the best players of ANY era. And when he hasn't, he can't beat the Knicks. He hasn't lucked into it by any stretch. He has to be good at what he's doing, for no other reason than to not wear out his welcome, if nothing else. But just once I'd like to see him do it without the best player in the game. Like the Celtics have. Or Pistons. Or even the Spurs (who have the best PF of all time...but no one else "great"). Heck, even Miami or Houston could be questioned (though Hakeem might have been the best player in a Jordan-less League).


June 17th, 2010 at 7:51 PM ^

Many can say he just was in the right place at the right time, but I think there is a lot of evidence for coaches with all the best talent in their respective sports on their teams failing to win it all.

It would be one thing if Phil only won one ring, everyone would say he did it with superior talent to no good of his own. But he has won over 10. In any regular experiement, his repeated success would continue to disprove this hypothesis. He's a talented coach and a perfect fit for the guys he coaches.

I think everyone would love to be in his spot to win 10 rings if they could.


June 17th, 2010 at 8:46 PM ^

... and nothing else.  To include team talent in your assessment of a coach you would have to do the same thing going in the other direction -- maybe a coach with a bad record is the greatest ever simply because he didn't have "talent" on his team.  With that you would end up with an impossible question to answer and where you can have great drunken debates tonight. 

The question that can be answered is "how many titles does he have compared to his peers" and "what is his win % compared to his peers".  You answer these questions and he is one of the greatest ever.  I hate him, as most Detroit fans still should, but it is hard to argue with success...


June 17th, 2010 at 9:35 PM ^

... Phil Jackson makes $12 million per year and gets to "date" the owner's daughter.

And, for some reason, Jerry Buss is grateful.    Must be some Zen-infused, Jedi mind-trick or something.


June 17th, 2010 at 11:04 PM ^

no doubt, the best coach of this time. He will remain well liked and revered, many years after he has retired from coaching. I wish him well in his future. I hope he stays a few more seasons...but maybe i am being greedy...


June 17th, 2010 at 11:59 PM ^

I'm favorably impressed with all his championships.  (Really -- I am.)

But, I really can't stand all the Zen BS.  Someone who displays that much love of self and makes b*tchy little remarks (as in the Phoenix series) has no business associating himself with that word.


June 18th, 2010 at 12:15 AM ^

To everyone who is down on Phil Jackson because of the talent he has had on his teams and don't think he's a great coach: NAME WHO YOU THINK ARE GREAT COACHES. This is bullshit when people throw out "Oh, he's not one of the best because ____" then don't name peers who they think are better.

Again, I said Popovich is probably the only coach better than him. Has won titles, obviously has (or had) a scheme and philosophy that worked, but guess what: he had talent too. Duncan, Ginobli, Parker in their primes with other solid role players through the years. How about Riley? Successful coach, but guess what he also had: talent. Showtime, Ewing, Wade, a lesser Shaq.

So again, to everyone who doesn't think he is a great coach, name those you think are better and why. The man is obviously doing something right.

Hoken's Heroes

June 18th, 2010 at 12:25 AM ^

Some of you are the best arm chair coaches I have ever seen.

Love or hate Phil, he's been able to get players with big frickin egos to play as a team and win. It's debateable if he's the greatest coach ever. It's not debateable that he's the most successful one. 

The Shredder

June 18th, 2010 at 11:57 AM ^

I have read all of his books and I can tell you the man is a great coach. He knows how to manage his players and he runs the most difficult offence in the NBA with the triangle. Coaches so often get so little out of great talent. Phil has on a regular basis. He's one of the greatest of all time in the sport.. period