The Los Angeles Lakers have won 16 titles in their franchise history, and only four coaches are responsible for those championships. Bill Sharman is the only one with just one title as a Lakers coach. He led the 1972 Lakers to their title against the New York Knicks. Fun fact: Phil Jackson, who would later go on to coach the Lakers, played for the Knicks in the 1972 Finals.
Phil Jackson, Pat Riley and John Kundla have all won five championships with the Lakers.
Kundla was the first Lakers coach, leading the team when they played in Minneapolis. John formed a great relationship with the first Lakers superstar, George Mikan, and together they brought the title to the Lakers in 1949, 50, 52, 53 and 54. As a coach, Kundla had a 60:35 (62% winning percentage) record in the playoffs. Following the success in the 50s, the Lakers had to wait till 1972 for their next title, losing to the Boston Celtics in the great 60s rivalry.
When Pat Riley took over the team in the 1981-82 season, he promised to bring the Lakers back to their former glory. Riley was the creator of the Showtime Lakers, a style of play that we see nowadays as well. Riley brought four titles to the Lakers or as many as Kundla. With Riley at the bench, the Lakers won in 82, 85, 87 and 88. He was also an assistant coach when the Lakers won in 1980. The only thing Riley didn’t achieve was a three-peat with the Lakers. He finished with a 68.5% winning percentage in the playoffs, or 102 wins and 47 losses.
Winning three titles as a Lakers coach is something that only Kundla, and then Phil Jackson managed to do. Phil Jackson was brought in following the 1998-1999 season, and he managed to bring a title in his first season as a coach. The Lakers won three titles in a row with Phil as head coach, in 2000, 2001, and 2002. He later left the franchise but returned after just one season away. He helped the Lakers win back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.
Phil Jackson and John Kundla have the most championships as Lakers head coach. In the playoffs, Phil finished with a 65% winning percentage, 118 wins and 63 losses. Phil Jackson ended with a 287 – 123 regular season record.
The Lakers will begin the Luke Walton era starting with their 2016-17 NBA season. LA is coming off their worst season in franchise history.
Check out the what is the Los Angeles Lakers All-Time Roster according to Barry’s Tickets.