Reflecting On The Zen's Coaching
Phil Jackson without a doubt the best NBA coach in league history. Which of his two significant coaching stints has been more impressive, is the true question.
Jackson left the playing field in 1980 but stayed on as an assistant coach for one year. He served as the Albany team's coach in the Continental Basketball Association from 1982 to 1987. In 1987, he returned to the NBA as an assistant coach with the Chicago Bulls. In 1989, Phil Jackson was appointed head coach.
For the first time since 1966, Phil Jackson led the Bulls to three straight NBA championships following a second-place division finish in 1989–1990.
Together with Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan, and other talented role players, he earned these rings. Michael Jordan, possibly the best player of all time, was in his corner, but before Jackson got there, Jordan was having a terrible time even winning a playoff series. Jackson altered everything. By making the Bulls defense more tenacious to match their attack, he gave the team a fresh viewpoint and helped them defeat the Detroit Pistons.
After Jordan's retirement following the 1992–1993 season, the Bulls missed the playoffs the next two seasons.
In 1994, Dennis Rodman, a longtime rival of the Pistons, and Jordan made a comeback. The Bulls now possess what some consider to be the finest team ever put together thanks to this, Pippen, and a strong core of role players who are still around. They won three more titles straight up. One of these years was 1996–1997, when they achieved 72 victories, which currently remains as the league’s record.
Then the unimaginable happened: Bulls general manager Jerry Krause chose to dismantle the franchise. Phil Jackson retired, Scottie Pippen was moved, and Jordan again announced his retirement.
However, Phil Jackson came back to coaching with the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2000–2001 season after taking a year off. Shaquille O'Neal at center and Kobe Bryant at guard, who had joined the Lakers in 1996 straight out of high school, were the team's leaders on this brilliant but troublesome squad.
The Lakers reacted to Phil Jackson's increased defensive zeal by winning three consecutive NBA championships in his first three seasons in charge. Only Phil Jackson has ever led two separate teams to three straight titles.
The Lakers struggled for a few years after Shaquille O'Neal left and retired from the team for numerous reasons. Jackson was enticed to re-join the Lakers with considerable persuasion and a sizable deal. After combining Bryant with big man Pau Gasol, he had the club back in the NBA Finals in a short period of time. In 2007, they faced up against the Celtics but lost. Jackson persisted in exerting further pressure to turn this new team into a well-oiled machine. They won titles in 2008 and 2009 in a row. Jackson is aiming for his fourth three-peat of the year.
Jackson's two significant stints have both been unmatched triumphs. Both sides might be argued to be his more spectacular stopping point.
I believe that the athletes he was teaching have the key to the solution.
Given that he effectively had success with two distinct teams, I give Phil Jackson's Lakers legacy the advantage in the sweepstakes. One featured a dominating Shaquille O'Neal and an emerging Kobe Bryant, while the other was drastically different and came about a few years later. A more experienced Bryant and a rock-solid big man in Gasol have guided his second team. Since winning their first title, the Lakers roster has undergone a total makeover, with only Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant remaining on both teams' rosters.
However, the Bulls dynasty was largely the same club with a few minor variations. They shared a lead player in Jordan, a partner in Pippen, and several more players.
I don't want to diminish his time with the Bulls, but he accomplished a lot more when coaching the Lakers, helping to create two different championship squads.
Whether he is right or not, Phil Jackson is more likely to be remembered as a Lakers coach than a Bulls coach given the opportunity to further his Lakers reputation this year and maybe in the future.