Research

Who coached the most star power in NBA history?

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 21: (C) Former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Pat Riley, (top) former head coach Phil Jackson and (R) Earvin 'Magic' Johnson are seen before the start of the memorial service for Los Angeles Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on February 21, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Buss died at the age of 80 on Monday following an 18-month battle with cancer. Buss won 10 NBA championships as Lakers owner since purchasing the team in 1979. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Remember our little research to find out which NBA players had been surrounded by the most star power during their pro careers? Well, we have done the same thing with NBA head coaches.

This time, we looked up the rosters coached by the 50 coaches with the most regular-season wins in NBA history and awarded them points in a similar way to the last time.

* One point per each All-Star appearance by a player on their teams.

* Two points every time a player on the squad they coached made the 1st or 2nd All-NBA Team.

* Three points for each MVP trophy a player won under him.

This is how the ranking would look after awarding all those points.

Surprise, surprise: Four of the five coaches with the most championship rings are in the Top 5 in terms of star power coached. Red Auerbach, who had at least three All-Stars every year he coached the Boston Celtics, is the runaway No. 1, followed by Phil Jackson, who had Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant playing for him in their prime years. Pat Riley (Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Patrick Ewing, Dwyane Wade, Shaq) comes right behind at No. 3 and then you have Gregg Popovich (Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard) at No. 5.

Those four head coaches combine for 30 championships. That’s 43.4 percent of all NBA titles in league history. Auerbach, Jackson, Riley and Popovich were/are not just coaches, but also strong (if not absolutely dominant) management voices that played big roles in putting together very competitive rosters. Not to mention they contributed to the improvement of the personnel at their disposal. At the same time, there’s no denying they were dealt very good cards and often inherited great situations.

Among the ringless head coaches, Jerry Sloan and Don Nelson rank the highest in terms of star power coached – although that, especially in Nelson’s case, is a byproduct of their longevity on the job to a great extent.

The coaches in the Bottom 12 of the Star Power ranking combine for 167 seasons coached and not a single championship. Because in the NBA no stars means no titles no matter how good a coach you you may be.

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