With L.A.’s Game 1 victory over Utah in the Western Conference Semi’s, Phil Jackson surpassed Pat Riley for the most playoff wins in Lakers history (103), then boosted his all-time postseason record to 215-93 (.698) with a Game 2 win. The 215 wins and .698 winning percentage are the most, and highest, respectively, of any NBA coach in playoff history.
Last season, when L.A. beat Orlando in the Finals, Jackson leapfrogged legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach for most championships won by a head coach, in addition to passing fellow Hall-of-Famer Bill Russell (11) for most championships won by a player/coach (Jackson won two as a player for the Knicks). Furthermore, if the Lakers advance to the NBA Finals in 2010, it will be Jackson’s 13th trip to the final round, tying him with NHL coaching legend Scotty Bowman for most finals appearances in any major U.S. professional sport.
Derek Fisher seemed to have Jackson’s unprecedented success in mind when detailing his personal opinion that Jackson has not, and does not get the credit of which he’s deserving.
Here’s what Fisher had to say when asked about Jackson after Wednesday’s practice:
I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves, because he’ll forever be – I guess unfortunately – saddled with, if you want to call it that, his past accomplishments. ‘Oh yeah, he had Michael Jordan, so that’s why he won. Yeah, he had Shaq, he had Kobe, so OK.’
I don’t understand that logic whatsoever, to be honest. I was taught that it’s more difficult to try and take talent or people that are supposed to be the elite and get them to buy into doing the things that need to be done to be successful as opposed to the less talented, and getting them to achieve maybe a little bit more than they would without you … but what else would they do?
It’s always hard for me when they throw around all these names of who is doing a great job coaching and the guy just wins championships and wins 70 percent of his games, but he’s always way down the list of people that are supposed to be good coaches.