Thursday, February 4, 2010

Phil or Pat? Who Would You Take?

Color me amazed!

A question to Scribe’s Twitter followers got the attention of @NBA_on_ESPN_RV and has inspired a pretty good debate. To elaborate on those 140 characters:

You’re given a team that has been in the middle of the road for some time. There’s playoff potential, but equal potential for them to get embarrassed in the first round. Because of that treading-water phase of the franchise, you haven’t been able to draft a can’t-miss player and cap space is preciously thin. However, while your squad doesn’t have superstars, some players are on the radar of contending teams.

You have a chance to grab one of these two all-time great coaches. Which would you take: Phil Jackson or Pat Riley?

Of course, the question was inspired by Jackson passing Riley as the winningest coach in Los Angeles Lakers history last night.

Personally, I know who I’d make the case for, but I would hear what you have to say first.

State your case in a comment here, Facebook or on Twitter.


mindpinball said...

Good question. The common argument about these two coaches is that they didn't really have to coach because they had loads of talent at their disposal. So looking at it that way...Riles had Magic Johnson and Kareem Adbul-Jabbar in the twilight years. Phil Jax had Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in their primes. For act two, Riles had D. Wade and Shaq just past his prime, while Phil Jax had Shaq in his prime and Kobe.

I'm probably more sentimental for Riley because he coached my favorite player, Magic Johnson. But it's hard to argue with 10 championship rings. While Kobe is a standout talent, this last Lakers championship didn't really have a second great player on the team with him. Lots of good players like Gasol, Odom and Bynum but not that second all-star talent. So I guess I'm going with Phil Jackson. Sorry Riles.

Jason Clinkscales said...

As a Knicks fan, I'm supposed to have a natural aversion to Riley because of how he left. However, I was always impressed with his emphasis on defense and how he basically worked with what was in front of him. I think he'd be viewed in an even greater light (not that it isn't already great) if Hakeem Olajuwon didn't block John Starks' shot in Game 6 of the '94 Finals.

I was looking at the defensive rankings of those Showtime Lakers and couldn't help but to wonder how that's not talked up more. For them to score so much with essentially an Al-Star team and never be ranked lower than 7th in the league most years was incredible to me.

I think the superstar argument is stale for Jackson and again has a Knicks fan, it was easy to latch onto it in his Bulls days. Yet, there's something to be said about maximizing reserves as he did. Look, John Paxson was an underrated passer for a reserve, but I'll be damned if Jackson didn't get the most out of his shooting prowess for spurts. Heck, even getting something out of Bill Wennington when most teams would have given up on him impressed me in retrospect.

I just loved asking the question.