So, in the previous article as he usually does, Mr. Beard gave us an amazingly in depth analysis previewing this year’s NBA Finals between the Lakers and the Celtics.  I agree with what most of the article says especially the key matchup between Pierce and Kobe.  One thing that could effect that outcome of the series that I wished Mr. Beard expanded on was the coaching advantage.  If the NBA Finals has shown us anything over time its that good coaching wins finals.  If you look for instance at the last 17 years on which teams won titles you would see that since 1990-1991 season, Phil Jackson has won 9 titles, Greg Popovich has won 4 titles, Rudy Tomjanovich has won 2 titles, and Pat Riley and Larry Brown have also each won a title.  Notice something familiar here?  I sure do, All great coaches.  Afterall, everyone knows that Michael Jordan would not have been the player he was without Phil Jackson’s dicipline as his coach.  When Jackson took over the reigns after Doug Collins was fired, Jordan was still the “One man show” which was his reputation in the 80’s.  As the “one man show” Jordan could not take down the Detroit “Bad Boys” Pistons of the 80’s who were coached by Chuck Daly, anotehr solid coach, FYI.  When Phil Jackson diciplined Jordan and explained to him, that he was the coach and that he would not see playing time if he didn’t utilize his teammates, the following year in 1991, the Chicago Bulls swept the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals after losing in the playoffs to them the previous three years.  Even after Jordan retired after winning his third straight title in 1993, the following year the Bulls were still seen as a contender in the playoffs, as they pushed the number one seed of the East, The New York Knicks, to the limit.  The 1994 series was brought to 7 games, and the Knicks ended up pulling out the victory.  The point of that example was that even without Jordan the Bulls were still able to win and I claim Phil Jackson fully responsible for that.  He taught players like Jordan, Pippen, Tony Kukoc and others how to be floor leaders and it resulted in more titles than fingers on a hand (6). 

 

The Lakers:  When the Lakers signed Shaquille O’neal in 1996 and drafted Kobe Bryant the Same year, the Lakers struggled for the first three years the two superstars were together.  Del Haris coached the Lakers the first two years of that and Kurt Rambis coached the other year.  During that time, they could not even win their division with the team of Kobe, Shaq, Eddie Jones and Nick Van Exel.  When Phil Jackson came around in 1999, both Van Exel and Jones were gone and before you know it, the Lakers Won their division in 2000, Jackson’s first season as coach, and then went on to win the title that same year and then 2 more after that.  It wasn’t a fluke that the Lakers won the title in the years ’00, ’01 and ’02.  Jackson made that team better, teaching Kobe and Shaq how to co-exist and bringing up a stud point guard in Derek Fisher which would result in the dangerous triangle offense that the Lakers have had.  It was Jackson who is responsible for the Lakers success.

This year:  This year’s finals features the two top teams in the league; the Lakers and the Celtics.  Any coach, including Isaiah Thomas, can win at least 50 or more games with this Celtics team.  I know the Celts won 66 but if I’m going to include Isaiah Thomas in this stat who is the worst coach ever, I have to give some looseness to this stat, but yes Isaiah could win 50 games with that team.  If the Celtics had a decent coach they would win the series but the fact of the matter is that Doc Rivers is, as Beard stated “the worst coach in the NBA not named Isaiah Thomas”.  You are putting him up in this series against one of the top two coaches in NBA history.  It is hard to say who a better coach is/was between Red Auerbach and Phil Jackson, but I’m still going to go with Red. by a hair, but it is still debateable.  Doc Rivers barely got thsi Celtics team out of the first round against the Atlanta Hawks who were 8 games under .500.   Then, they barely got passed the defending Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers.  After two series the Celtics had a road record of (0-6) which is disgraceful considering the Celtics ended with the best record in the league.  Regarding the Eastern Conference Finals against Detroit, if Chauncey Billups was healthy, the Celtics would be on the golf course right now.  The Lakers had a completely different kind of road to get to the NBA finals because of how amazing the west is.  Each seed won at least 50 games.  Their first round opponent was against the 50-32 Denver Nuggets who they swept.  Their next opponent was against the 54-28 Utah Jazz who they defeated in six.  Their previous opponent was against the 56-26 San Antonio Spurs who they defeated in five games.  Let me remind you that they did all of this without Andrew Bynum.  I understand that their should have been a foul called on Fisher at the end of game four.  But, do you know how many calls players like Jordan, Wilt, Magic and Bird got in their favor back in their hayday?  You cannot say that something is a conspiracy theory because of that.  Also, didn’t brent Barry try to jump into Fisher?  Maybe that’s why the call was made.  I saw a lean in by Barry and as far as that is concerned, that could have been more of an offensive foul than a defensive one, but that is up for debate, it wasn’t the most obvious foul anyway.  

The bottom line:  The Lakers have had a much tougher road to the finals and history has shown that great coaches win titles.  Phil Jackson is one of the best in history and Doc Rivers is a loser.  He was a loser  in Orlando and let’s not forget, when he was the coach of the ’04-’05 Celtics team, they won their division but still managed to lose in the first round of the ’05 playoffs.  He has never made it out of the first round until this year, that says something.  It says how terrible he really is as a coach.  Every season he coached the Magic they were .500 or better and they still failed to make it out of the first round.  This season, has caused people to forget about his past because he is in the finals.  That team is expected to make the finals without a coach running the bench.  He gets no credit what-so-ever for this season.  I give it to the players completely.  I’m not saying to not pick the Celtics to win the Championship this year, I am just saying that history has shown that winning the NBA Finals has really come down to one thing…Good Coaching!  And that is something that the Celtics lack.

By, Justin “J-Fense” Fensterman

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