Commentary

Popovich or Jackson coach of decade?

When thinking about the best coaches of the past 10 years, two names spring to mind

Updated: January 20, 2011, 3:37 PM ET
By Chris Broussard and Ric Bucher | ESPN The Magazine
Phil Jackson and Gregg PopovichGetty ImagesIt's hard to argue with Jackson's titles. But Popovich always seems to exceed expectations.

The only thing Ric Bucher and Chris Broussard like to do more than report on the NBA is argue about the NBA. So we decided to combine those two skills for Insider's weekly One-on-One series, in which they'll debate the hottest topics in the Association.

Question: Who has been the best coach of the past decade?

BUCHER: Two coaches have stood above the rest of the NBA during the past decade: The Lakers' Phil Jackson and the Spurs' Gregg Popovich. There are coaches who have been impressive in various ways -- the Jazz's Jerry Sloan and the Celtics' Doc Rivers immediately come to mind -- but they are, at best, fighting for a distant third. The question is, who deserves to be considered the best? I'm going to go with the man they call Pop.

BROUSSARD: Obviously, Pop is a terrific coach, one of the best to do it. But my pick for coach of the past decade or so is Jackson. With five titles and seven Finals appearances since 2000, he's led two separate dynasties in one decade. Not only has Jackson been the best coach of the past 10 to 12 years, he's been the best in NBA history.

Ric Bucher

NBA Reporter, ESPN The Magazine Senior Writer