Phil Jackson is one of the greatest coaches of all time. People can argue that he has been given the opportunity to coach some of the greatest players ever, but it takes a great coach to win 11 NBA Championships.
It appears as though Jackson’s coaching career will temporarily be over. Jackson has stated that he hopes he has coached his final game, but I do not believe him. Jackson has won 11 rings, has 229 career playoff wins, and has a career playoff winning percentage of 68.8%. So it is not fitting for his last playoff series to be a sweep at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks. He will not want to end his career like that. I believe that Jackson will take one year off, and then he will come back to coaching in the NBA.
If Phil does decide to come back and coach it will most likely not be with the Lakers. Jackson showed his frustration with his players in the playoffs, and I believe that he would want a fresh start with another organization. In addition, Mike Brown signed a contract today to become the Lakers head coach. Many people think that if Jackson returns he will coach the Knicks, but I can’t see Jackson and the Knicks having a good relationship together. The Knicks do not play good defense, and Jackson has won his championships with good team defense. I think that the two most likely destinations for Jackson are Chicago and Oklahoma City. The city of Chicago would love to have Jackson return to the Bulls. They have the MVP of the league on their team, and they will be hoping that Jackson can lead them to the title once again. But Oklahoma City is very tempting. They are a young team that has a lot of upside. And who is better to coach Kevin Durant than Phil Jackson? Jordan never won a title before Jackson showed up in Chicago, so maybe he can teach Durant the same things that he taught Michael. It is difficult to predict where a coach will go in a few years, but I am hoping that Jackson and Durant will team up.
But what if Jackson is really finished coaching? Some consider him to be the greatest coach ever. He has 3 three-peats and another repeat. He has dealt with many problems that have been thrown his many, including the retirements of Jordan and fights between Shaq and Kobe. But there is rarely a true “greatest ever” in any sport. In my mind, hockey is the only sport where there is a definitive answer to the greatest player or coach. Every hockey fan would agree that Gretzky is the best player to ever play. That’s why I prefer to call Jackson one of the greatest coaches ever.
The real uncertainty about Phil Jackson is how he will be remembered. He won six rings with the Bulls, and five with the Lakers. He will most likely be known for winning with Jordan, though. Jordan is one of the greatest players, and Jackson is the coach who organized the team to win those six titles. Jordan might not have achieved what he did if Jackson never became his coach, and Jackson would not be the same coach if he never coached Jordan. The two made history together, and they are some of the greatest to ever be associated with the NBA.