The history of the LA Lakers has seen many great Championship runs. The players who won titles, such as Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant, have immortalized themselves in Lakers history, but we cannot forget the coaches that led these teams to the greatest heights. In this article, we take a look at the Los Angeles Lakers' top 5 head coaches of all time.
Who are the LA Lakers' top 5 head coaches of all time?
The LA Lakers have been home to some of the greatest coaches in the history of the NBA. Let us take a look at the top 5 head coaches of all time for the LA Lakers.
#5 Paul Westhead (1979-1981)
Win-loss record: 111-50
While Paul Westhead may have coached the LA Lakers for just two seasons, he made his mark on the legacy of the franchise by leading them to the NBA title in 1980. He laid the foundation for the Showtime Lakers with rookie Magic Johnson leading the team to the Championship.
Westhead was unable to get the Lakers past the first round in 1981. His tenure with the LA Lakers was cut short during the 1981-82 season after he reportedly had a falling out with Lakers superstar Magic Johnson. He had a regular season record of 111-50 and a playoff record of 13-6.
#4 Del Harris (1994-1998)
Win-loss record: 224-116
Del Harris came to LA to coach a young Lakers team that was struggling in the late 1990s. He groomed the young talent of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, and is credited with the revival of the LA Lakers before Phil Jackson took over.
Harris had a great win-loss record of 224-116 during his four years with the LA Lakers. In the playoffs, he led the Lakers to consecutive playoff appearances and they even made the Western Conference Finals in 1998.
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#3 Bill Sharman (1971-1976)
Win-loss record: 264-116
Bill Sharman is a name that the LA Lakers will not forget. He coached the legendary Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain to the first NBA title in Los Angeles in 1972, and had great success during his five-year tenure with the LA Lakers
Sharman's strategies to use Chamberlain as a rebounding defender and set up fast breaks led by Jerry West transformed the Lakers into a powerhouse team in the Western Conference. Sherman had great success with the Lakers with a win-loss record of 246-164, and under him, the Lakers made the playoffs thrice with a record of 22 wins in 37 games.
#2 Pat Riley (1981-1990)
Win-loss record: 533-194
Pat Riley is one of the greatest coaches in the history of the LA Lakers. He joined as the head coach in 1981 and built the dynasty that we now know as the Showtime Lakers, and led the Lakers to 4 NBA titles in his nine seasons.
Riley had remarkable success with the LA Lakers, winning 533 out of 727 games in the regular season. In the playoffs, Riley had an impressive 102-47 record and the Lakers never failed to make it to the playoffs during his tenure. By the time he left, Riley was one of the most popular coaches in the NBA.
#1 Phil Jackson (1996-2004 and 2005-2011)
Win-loss record: 610-292
Phil Jackson is undoubtedly the greatest coach in the history of the LA Lakers. During his time with the Lakers, he won a total of 5 Championships including a three-peat from 2000 to 2002. Jackson set up the famous triangle offense with Shaq and Kobe during the three-peat in what is one of the most successful Championship runs in LA Lakers' history.
After Shaq's departure, he built a great team around Kobe Bryant as they went on to make it to three straight NBA Finals from 2008 to 2010, winning the last two. Jackson had a great regular-season record with 610 wins in 902 games. In the playoffs, he led the LA Lakers to a 118-63 record during his legendary tenure as the head coach.
Jackson is an undisputed No. 1 on the list of the Los Angeles Lakers' top 5 head coaches of all time.
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