Coaching basketball at any level means drawing up plays for a team to try and complete. Coaching the best players on the planet paid legendary coaches in the NBA, but their experience can translate to coaches at every level. Looking back at the most iconic plays of some of the NBA’s most iconic coaches gives all coaches a chance to learn how they drew up their legendary strategies. From Phil Jackson’s Los Angeles Lakers to Pat Riley’s Miami Heat, there is much to learn from the history of iconic plays beyond the X’s and O’s.
Phil Jackson – Los Angeles Lakers
Phil Jackson is an NBA coaching legend for several reasons, including his use of the triangle offense. Whether working with the Chicago Bulls or the Lakers, Jackson made sure his players were ready to use these plays at his disposal. The triangle offense lent itself to the development of the frequently-used Sideline out of Bounds, or ‘SLOB’ plays. One of Jackson’s favorites was the Triangle Post-up SLOB. This play requires a post feed that gives two options for moving the ball to the basket.
Lenny Wilkens – Atlanta Hawks
Lenny Wilkens is a triple threat in the NBA Hall of Fame. The former Atlanta Hawks coach was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player, coach, and as part of the world renowned 1992 Olympic Dream Team. Lenny Wilkens understood the skills and experiences of his players and relied on the three-point shooting of Steve Smith while at the Hawks. One of his favorite plays Wilkens ran during his successful tenure in Atlanta was the Triple Stagger BLOB. This ‘Baseline out of Bounds’ play would open up space for Smith to get an open three-point shooting attempt.
Pat Riley – Miami Heat
Pat Riley was an innovator at the Miami Heat, who took the pick and roll and expanded its impact. Riley enjoyed using the pick and roll to provide his Heat squad with multiple scoring options. The screen would allow the first shooter the opportunity for a jump shot. If the initial shot was blocked, the team would reset with the ball in the center of the court, with players out wide moving the ball quickly to the big men in the paint.