Red Auerbach said it best about Phil Jackson.
Jackson never built a team on his own.
That is what we call a “cherry picker.”
Call Jackson an intelligent opportunist before a great coach.
Doug Collins had raised the baby Bulls built by Jerry Krause, yet the team was missing a piece.
That piece was Scottie Pippen.
Sitting on the bench and watching Michael Jordan toss 40 shots a game with the “Jordan Rules” protecting the team, most coaches would have had, at the very least, many of the successes they enjoyed.
The Lakers job eerily fell into place much like the Bulls job.
The Logo, Jerry West, had built a very good team (again) and then stole Kobe Bryant for garbage in a trade.
Del Harris groomed the young team that was missing a few pieces.
The huge piece was Shaquille O’Neal, followed by vet fillers like Ron Harper, Robert Horry, Rick Fox, and other lesser pieces.
Again, most coaches would have won championships with those lineups.
Jackson’s coaching ability came from Tex Winter running the team as Phil massaged egos…including his own.
He built the NBA practically on his own.
You can mention the fact he coached nine championship teams in 10 years, including eight consecutive champions.
There is a reason the NBA Coach of the Year award is named after him.
One can also state he oversaw 16 championship teams in his 29 years with the team.
Red built these teams, as he hired a bunch of Phil Jackson types to steer the team to more championships under Auerbach’s guidance.
Then there is the fact Red invented the fast break offense.
Auerbach’s impact on sports also reverberates throughout society on the entire planet.
He is the NBA’s Branch Rickey, having done so in a very bigoted New England by drafting Chuck Cooper in 1950.
Cooper was the first black player ever drafted in the NBA.
Red also fielded the first fully black starting five in 1964.
Red was an innovator who built Boston from the ground up. The franchise still runs by his taught principles today with Danny Ainge, one of Red’s “gets” back in the heyday.
Red got a lot of “gets.”
Somehow, he got Bill Russell.
He took advantage of an NBA rule to draft Larry Bird while he was still in college.
He got Ainge out of a failed baseball career.
He got Dennis Johnson for nothing from Seattle.
He got Robert Parish and a draft pick, which turned out to be Kevin McHale, for nothing from Golden State.
Even before he joined the Celtics, he was a successful coach for the Washington Capitols.
In its inaugural season of 1946, the team had a 17-game winning steak, which was a record that stood for 23 years.
The 1948-49 season saw the Capitols start the season by winning a record 15 games in a row. This record still stands today and is tied with the 1993-94 Houston Rockets.
The list goes on and on regarding Red’s impact both on and off the court.
If Len Bias hadn’t overdosed, Boston would have ruled the NBA another decade, and we never would talk about the Bulls or Pistons.
Those teams would probably have fallen next to Dominique Wilkins’ Hawks teams and Sidney Moncrief’s Bucks teams as teams that just fell short.
Jackson? He had GMs build his teams that were groomed by knowledgeable coaches and then let Tex coach the teams the triangle offense.
Tex prefers anonymity, so we have had the media mislead us into reading Jackson is some Zen master, when all he really ever has been is a detached babysitter of monsters created for him.