Better NBA coach: Gregg Popovich or Phil Jackson? | The Tylt
Better NBA coach: Gregg Popovich or Phil Jackson?
For 22 straight years, Gregg Popovich has done nothing but win. After a 17-47 record in his first season as head coach, Popovich made the San Antonio Spurs the envy of the NBA, running an elite organization with an uncompromising vision of team basketball. In an era of hero ball, Popovich was able to maximize underappreciated gems like Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Bruce Bowen, and consistently topping superior talent.
The beauty of Pop is that he was able to change on the fly. He won a championship throwing the ball to Tim Duncan and David Robinson; used Park and Ginobili to perfection in the heavy pick and roll era to win a title; and rode Kawhi Leonard and a group of shooters in the current, three-point heavy period. Jackson ran the triangle offense, which was the work of Tex Winter and struggled to adapt when the league evolved.
Popovich took less talent further than Phil Jackson. Jackson needed four players who were considered the greatest of their era, in their primes, in order to win. Pop only needed one in Duncan. That's why he's the greatest.
There's a word that wins any argument in sports: scoreboard. Phil Jackson has the most NBA championships ever. If titles are the true measure of greatness, he is objectively the best.
It's one thing to have talent, but it's another to get them to gel. Coaches have great teams and done nothing with them. Del Harris had the Kobe Bryant-Shaquille O'Neal combo and couldn't get to the NBA Finals. Doug Collins had Michael Jordan but couldn't get to the championship round. Jackson put the pieces together and had success.
People love to say Pop would've done more with the rosters Jackson had, but there is no way to know if he could deal with mega egos Jackson so carefully balanced. Jackson proved he was the best, every year, and has the titles to prove it.