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How good of a coach is Phil Jackson?

maravich44
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How good of a coach is Phil Jackson?

He has nine rings as Head Coach of Bulls and Lakers. However, in his tenure, he has had some stud players. In Chicago, he won 6 titles with both Jordan and Pippen. Since moving to L.A., he has had Kobe the whole time and Shaq for 2 of his rings. Last year, he had one superstar, but several solid players. My contention is that the last championship was his best work job of coaching. No doubt he is a very good coach, motivator and Yen Psychologist, but how many titles would he have won with different players? Hard to answer. Of course that question can't really be answered. This one can. How many titles would the average NBA Head Coach have won given the roster Phil Jackson had to work with?

He is a lock for the Hall of Fame, but if the average coach would have won the same number or close to the same number of championships given the same roster, does his COACHING truly merit enshrinement in the Hall of Fame?


gregoden08
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"and Shaq for 2 of his rings"

...

sheltwon3
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someone can't count. Phil

someone can't count. Phil has 9 rings but 10 championships because he gets his tenth ring next year at the ring ceremony. He got 3 rings with Shaq. There has been many team with great players that did not do what Phil Jackson teams has done. You have to give him credit. He knows how to lead. There are better coaches than him but not many are better leaders.

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Yeah

He is a hell of the coach. I don't know if he is the best but obviously you can't argue he is right there. He gets guys to overachieve, and his stars to be better teamates. Not always an easy thing to do. Great coach

spokomptonkdub
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MJ won him 6 rings. Had he

MJ won him 6 rings. Had he not had him on his team, he wouldn't have won any championships in chicago. and shaq won 3 rings with phil, not 2. i just think he gets put in lucky situations all the time. any other coach would have won 6 rings in chicago with mike on the team.

maravich44
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My bad. I misspoke his

My bad. I misspoke his number with Shaq. Sorry! The question is better than my math.

Italiantarheel
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I don't know about the Xs

I don't know about the Xs and Os but i think when it comes to managing egos and leadership there is none better. As far as the talent if he had two or three rings I might would say his players got him that but ten you just don't luck up in to ten championships.

maravich44
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The thing I find amazing is

The thing I find amazing is his ability to handle egos. He has coached many of the biggest in history. I find this interesting because his ego is bigger than most of the big ego players he has coached. I've personally met him. I know this from experience and by talking to people who know him well. It's not simply just my perception.

llperez
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phil

it's impossible to know how many he would have won without great players or how many other coaches would have won with his talent. But he managed ego's and was respected by his players. You never hear guys really talk negatively after playing for him. When did he become a head coach, 1990..? And he has already been to the finals 12 times and won 10.

Meditated States
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Yeah

Yeah you don't slip and fall into 10 rings, you are doing something right and I hate the Lakers but he gets it done.

maravich44
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Talk about being in the

Talk about being in the right time and place.....he also has a ring from his playing days with Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, and Dave Debussure.

No doubt he can coach and is a master manipulator of mind and body.

NYK2010
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Great but overrated.

Lets see him win without the top players in the league. Funny how he couldn't get out of the 1st round when they didn't have Gasol.

llperez
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nyk2010

He may or may not be overrated. But he was on his way to about 55 wins before they landed Gasol. When they lost in the first round, he was coaching Smusk, Kwame, and LukeW as starters against a very good Suns team, and they still took them to 7 games that first year. When Jordan first left, the bulls won like 55 games being led by Pippen, Kukoc, and BJ Armstrong. He gets the most out of talent.

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I can only go on gut feeling

I can only go on gut feeling since hes worked with some of the best of the last 2 decades

So...im going to GUESS hes actually a bad coach...Kobe says he teaches with "zen" and he asks his guys to meditate....

I just dont see how mediation can win 10 championships...i feel like hes been blessed to have the greatest 3 players of our generation on his team

and hes had 3 3-petes

I mean, i could coach Shaq & Kobe into the playoffs in '01, hes good, but overrated at the same time..

Meditated States
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Spent 10 years training in martial arts

The meditation works. Not the key to those teams winning at all, but it does increase focus and energy.

Bison 49
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Very Good.

Yes he has worked with some of the best over the last 2/3 decades but, did these players become "the best" after playing for him? Each of these players were champions only after they joined his team (I believe that was he Jordan's first coach, or began coaching him before MJ had won a championship). But looking at his Lakers teams, and I believe his Bulls teams is it possible that his influence was what made these guys great?

Shaq had no championships before he joined Jackson's team.

Kobe needed years with the zen-master before he could cary a team and play as a team player.

Finally, even if there is some misplaced adoration at this point, if his track record gets him the best team on the floor, then he is being a great coach. Many college programs place a huge emphasis on the coache's ability to recruit. Same thing in the NBA.

maravich44
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Jordan played for a couple

Jordan played for a couple of coaches before Jackson including Doug Collins. Reinsdorf publicly said Collins couldn't take Bulls from point A to point B. Rumor was that Collins was banging Reinsdorf's wife. Wonder how many of the 6 titles Phil won in Chicago would have been won with Collins in charge. My guess is 6. No one can ever know for sure.

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I want to see him coach the

I want to see him coach the clippers and see how much they improve.

sheltwon3
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the lakers before Bynum

the lakers before Bynum showed signs of life were like the clippers, people forget how it was just Kobe. That team was still competitive. They were even competitive the year Kobe was hurt for a large portion and Butler was doing his thing. There are a lot of coaches they have had good players and not made it. If Phil Jackson coached the Cavalier they would have made the Finals at least.

doubledribbler
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To All the Non-Believers

The guy is a great coach. Maybe he's not the best of all time. Having 10 rings says a lot. I don't care who you have playing for you. Sure he had great players, but don't most championship teams? The recent Pistons championship team was probably one of the few that didn't have any guys that are a lock to be in the hall of fame on their team. A lot of championship teams seem to have at least 2 hall of famers on them and most have a third guy that is usually a borderline or perennial all star at worst. You can call him lucky for the situations he gets in, but when you coach 82 games plus the playoffs it's hard to call winning over 70% of your games luck.

Everyone wants to talk about Kobe, Shaq, Pippen, and MJ. Well let's talk about Bill Wennington, Luke Longley, John Paxson, Luke Walton, Steve Kerr, Stacey King, Derek Fisher, Devean George and a host of other role players that played at extremely high levels with Phil, but played poorly on other teams if they played at all. I honestly think that Larry Brown is the best coach in the NBA right now, but he just can't coach the personalities like Phil can. With the way that teams are built, the numerous young players and the fact that most of the players are making more than the coaches, you have to be a part time psychologist. So give the guy his due.

mikeyvthedon
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How many licks does it take to get to the center.....

of a Tootsie Pop? The world may never know.

Maravich, have to say, do not exactly know where you are going with this one, other than to say that Phil has won 10 (not 9 anymore, and 12 couting his 2 with the Knicks) rings with who I consider to be 3 of the top 5 players to play the game, plus he has never won a ring without having the best player in basketball at the time on his team. However, so what? Would Red Auerbach had been as great a coach without coaching a team that had 5 out of the 20 best players in the league most of the time? Also, would Rick Carlisle and Stan Van Gundy had taken their improved teams to titles the year after they were won by Larry Brown and Pat Riley respectively. All I will say is, Phil Jackson seems to have a philosophy that is incredibly effective. He deals very well with players and ego's, and I would say Shaq and Kobe were more of an example of it than a disproof of the theory. The fact that he got those two players to coincide for as long as they did was a bloody miracle. He brought the best out of a countless amount of players who were thought to be uncoachable and he keeps great minds around him, which is a testament to how he can control his own ego. I think his basketball philosophy and his practice of Zen (not the Japanese form of currency, or Yen) philosophy help his players just communicate and get into proper mental preparation of a basketball game. He does not panic, like many coaches, and the amazing thing is, you rarely hear someone question his gameplan or decision making as a coach, which is remarkable. It seems like you never hear, "Phil didn't do this" or "Phil didn't foul one of the most clutch shooters in play-off history when so he could have a wide open 3 pointer to tie the game (which should answer my thoughts on whether Van Gundy would have won a title)". Being in the right place in the right time makes careers for NBA players (Robert Horry for example, even with his obvious contributions, was never really the man, and you could I guess say something similar about James Posey, though for some reason no one credits Darko Milicic for his ring, hmm), so why can it not for coaches?

The fact is, that none of these guys won rings without Phil, so there is no way to know. No average coach however, would win 10 titles. Winning one usually makes you an above average to great coach, and some coaches people regard as being great have either choked in those situations or have never won a ring. Phil Jackson was lucky enough to be in the right place, but more often than not, Phil Jackson was asked to be there, and he proceeded to lead teams to be better than they were otherwise. I mean, even after he came back to LA without Shaq, the Lakers improved a great deal (and this was before Gasol arrived). I do not know why more people choose to not emulate Phil Jackson, rather going with the "I am the fearless God chosen leader approach" (Also known as the Bob Knight method, and it can succeed). But, be that keystone, unflappable leader, the guy with enough confidence in himself and more importantly in his team to execute what needs to be done to win games. If there is a better coach, I do not know who it would be. Pat Riley is a primadonna, Larry Brown is rad, but way too weird and nomadic, and I just do not think Red Auerbach is the coach Phil was (but again, he won 9 I believe, so obviously he had something going for him :). Many great coaches, Chuck Daly, Red Holzman, Rudy T did brilliant with the Rocket's teams and Lenny Wilkens was very solid. But, I would take Phil Jackson, and to answer the question, I do not believe average coaches would have done any better. Think I am wrong? Well, one example I am glad to share is Flip Saunders. He would destroy the regular season and just bomb in the play-offs. His team could not keep their composure. Is this his fault? Maybe not, but it sure looked that way. When mediocrity is given great talent, they tend to come up short. Phil Jackson is not even close to average, but no average coach could do what Phil did with his title teams.

mikeyvthedon
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Hall of Fame

By the way, yes was the bullet point of my presentation.

maravich44
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Really never questioned his

Really never questioned his coaching ability. Though I miscounted his rings (pretty pretty please forgive me), I was wondering how many titles an average NBA coach would win with the talent Phil Jackson had on his roster. Simply put, he is going to Hall of Fame without a doubt. Is he going because he was a great coach or was fortunate to have been coaching such great players? I'm assuming you know Aurbach also assembled talent for Celtics dynasty. Whether it was great front office work or great coaching, Red gets the credit. Phil had nothing to do with aquiring players on either Bulls or Lakers.

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mikeyvthedon

well said. But Shaq did win one without Phil.

mikeyvthedon
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Maravich

I did realize this in the case of Red. I just also realize there were 12 teams, fewer rounds in the play-offs and you could acquire players by saying "He lived near me." Yes, drafting Bill Russell takes talent, so does drafting Tim Duncan and LeBron James (Yes, I am kidding, but Bill was 2nd pick, somehow, so that was a good value pick, I guess:). He did have nothing to do with acquiring players, though I am sure he suggested. Why do you think they just got Artest? 91 on the Pacers? Compared to what skull headed defensive and rebounding whiz? Artest does different things on the court, but he is one of the better players in the NBA and it is always a question of how to get through to him. I have to say, if anyone could do it, Phil would seem to be odds on favorite. But, yes, I thought my points on his demeanor and leadership abilities held more clout than my quip about Red Auerbach and his George Burnsian hilarity during the Celtics dominance. Well, hate to say it, but I told me so ;)

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good to

to a certain extent. He's had the talent thats for damn sure but having all the talent in the world wont get u championships. if guys have no discipline or anyone to take control and tell them when to shutup then that team will fall. I think phil is certainly a good coach and best of all time maybe. But many of his rings most certainly wouldnt have happened if he didnt have those all world players surrounding him

maravich44
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I thought my question about

I thought my question about whether it was Phil's coaching ability or good fortune would cause more interesting discussion than my counting his championships, but that's the way the ball bounces.

mikeyvthedon
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Shaq

He did. My bad, I got caught up in the moment. The Daddy is truly one of a kind, and my favorite player, which means I must commit seppuku in the style of a basketball samurai. This means I will watch Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas analyze basketball in their annoying/robotic voices with their generic comments and lack of insight until I go into a catatonic coma. "Second jumpability baby!" It is starting! I again apologize.

Also, maravich, do not get melancholy. I believe I said my piece on his coaching.

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jackson

This question is revisited every year. Phil Jackson is a great coach. It takes a lot to tame the ego of superstars and be so calm. He uses Tex Winter's triangle offense because it is effective and it allows Kobe to isolate and score. The triangle offense also makes a very good point that there is only one ball in basketball. In terms of basketball knowledge is he the best? Probably not, that likely goes to Larry Brown. But, nonetheless, Jackson is a great coach because he is smart and calm and knows how to mix players in rotation, when to play them and what they can do better than anyone in the NBA.

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IMO the best chance for him

IMO the best chance for him to truly prove himself was winning it without Jordan, and he couldnt win between retirements, that just comes to show that the bulls would have not won any rings without Jordan, but of course if Jordan wasn't on the bulls Phil Jackson wouldn't even be coaching them, he somehow manages to fall in good teams and once thats gone he leaves... when Jordan retired for the second time Phil Jackson "retired" and in reality he was just waiting for a better offer... he dosent want to give anyone the satisfaction of seeing him coach a terrible team.

but I do give him alot of credit for being able to make talented players work in a team with his triangle offense.

but by no means is he a top coach of all time...

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An average coach given too much credit

There's nothing more annoying to me than when people talk about how great coaches are. Coaches have such a small impact that they are hardly worth mentioning and yet people are always willing to give them tons of credit. It's ridiculous.

All you coach lovers who think Phil Jackson is so incredible should ask yourselves a few questions. If a bad team (like my Wolves) were being coached by Phil Jackson, would they win a championship? No. Would they make the playoffs? No. Would they improve even a little? Possibly.

Now ask yourselves the same questions but instead of adding Phil Jackson, let it be MJ, or Shaq (in their prime) or Kobe. There's absolutely no question that the Wolves would do better.

I think the perfect example of the "isn't he an incredible coach" phenomenon can be seen with Doc Rivers. Going into 07-08, Rivers was a bad coach with a losing record. The 06-07 was a total disaster for Boston. Suddenly, KG and Ray Allen fall into their laps and it's all "Boy that Doc Rivers is one heck of a coach." Everyone started tripping over themselves to say how incredible it was that Rivers had been able to mesh three all-stars together and win games. You'd hear it over and over and suddenly Rivers is some kind of great coach. What a coincidence. Some things you didn't hear so much about were how terrible he was the year before, how lackluster he was in general, or how about the time when he was fired for starting a season under 10% with a team that had been in the playoffs the year before. All forgotten.
Sidenote: KG and Pierce were old friends, great meshing there Doc.

Back to Jackson. Just another example of a coach getting too much credit. People like to say he's amazing. The "Zen-Master" has done it again, huh?
Interview with Jackson: (paraphrased)
"You've coached such explosive personalities as Dennis Rodman in your career. How have you been able to control these seemingly uncontrollable guys?"
"Well Dennis was a real excitable guy who really fed off of other people. Basically I realized that the best way to handle Dennis was to stay calm and try not to get him too worked up."
Gee. That's incredible. But it's an early example of Jackson's true talent, the ability to sit down and shut-up. The truth is that Rodman had incredible respect for MJ. This was far more important than Jackson being calm. Still unconvinced? Read on.

Now that a team coached by Jackson has won again everyone wants to give Jackson tons of credit. What I think is interesting is what actually happens and what the players say, not the Jackson-hype. If anyone watched Kobe's Doin' Work it gave us a great demonstration of Jackson in action (or is it inaction?). Basically Kobe's running the team on the floor, Kobe's rallying the team in timeouts, and when he checks out of the game, Kobe's giving his teammates advice and strategizing. It especially funny when Kobe just looks at Phil and he puts him back in and Kobe as narrator is like "Yeah, Phil knows to put me back in there when I want to go in." Kobe was totally runnning everything. Guess Jackson must've been in "Zen-Mode" or something. Which reminds me, this Zen crap should probably be addressed in a rant of this length.
In an interview with the Lakers players after the playoffs, Kobe's talking about some of the stupid crap that Jackson's making them do. The famous "zen." He said that Jackson made them all close their eyes and imagine that they were frogs on lilly-pads. Kobe was like "when we were doing it I was kinda looking around like, are they actually doing this?" And the whole team started laughing. They all thought it was total crap.

In case you haven't gotten it by now, my point is that coaches don't matter anywhere near as much as players. Put me as head coach of the Lakers next year and they'd still be winning games. I wish people would just stop talking about coaches because they are unimportant. When Jackson had an unspectacular roster in LA, Kobe didn't seem too concerned about leaving Jackson's butt behind. He was concerned with getting some decent teammates. He'd leave "the greatest coach in history" in a heartbeat because coaches don't win games. Players do.

NYK2010
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55 wins w/out Gasol yeah sure

55 wins w/out Gasol yeah sure keep dreaming man.

the lake show
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That's because Coach's do

That's because Coach's do deserve a bunch of credit. Try having a game with two teams of equal talent, one with a coach that has trained them through practice and the other with no Coach and they have been just training themselves and practice ( if they even show up to all the practices) and you will see a blow out. Where were those titles For the lakers with the team they had before Phil took over with the Same players?

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probably the best

most likely the best pro coach ever.....its kinda not close.....Pat Riley is kinda close....

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Ask Eric Spoelstra how good

Ask Eric Spoelstra how good Phil Jackson is.

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Jordan and pippen were more

Jordan and pippen were more complimentary than wade/lebron in my opinion and what are you going to say if the heat win

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My point is simply that 11

My point is simply that 11 rings is 11 rings. Its not automatic that talent equals victories. I fully expect the Heat to WIN the NBA title this year. Thats right, i am not buying into 20 games. I think they will find a way to do it. However, it is being shown that coaching is still key and gameplan is still key. You have to put the guys in an opportunity to succeed. Im not calling Spolestra a bum, Im saying coaching takes talent. 11 rings. ELEVEN.

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