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The Greatest Head Coaches in Phoenix Suns History

February 28, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 157

The Phoenix Suns is one of the current active franchises of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Suns, founded in 1968, became the first major professional sports team in the state of Arizona. The Phoenix franchise had its fair share of NBA success, with the Suns winning two conference titles, six division titles, and have gone to the NBA Playoffs for 29 seasons in their rich history. Despite achieving numerous winning seasons and reaching the NBA Finals twice (1976 against the Boston Celtics and 1993 versus the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls), the Suns have never won the elusive Larry O'Brien trophy in their 44 years of existence.

Throughout the Suns' history, their bench has been headed by fourteen different head coaches, with Alvin Gentry currently running the ship. But is he the best the Phoenix Suns ever had?

According to basketball experts, the three greatest head coaches in Phoenix Suns history are Cotton Fitzsimmons, Mike D'Antoni and John MacLeod.

No.3: Cotton Fitzsimmons (1970 - 1972, 1988 - 1992 & 1996)

Born Lowell Fitzsimmons, "Cotton" had three separate head coaching stints with the Phoenix Suns. In all three periods, he was able to attain a winning percentage of.591 from 1970 to 1972,.662 in 1988 until 1992, and a win-loss percentage of.551 in his final stint as the Suns head coach from 1995 to 1997. Fitzsimmons' second tenure in Phoenix from 1988 to 1992 is the highest regular season percentage by any Suns head coach in the team's history. His consistency during the regular season was supported with a combined 44 playoff games, with a playoff winning percentage of.388. Out of a total of 541 regular season games, Fitzsimmons won a total of 341, with a career win-loss percentage of.630 in Phoenix. Most of the franchise's overall success is attributed to Cotton's leadership.

No.2: Mike D'Antoni (2003 -2008)

Mike D'Antoni won the NBA Coach of the Year Award with the Phoenix Suns during the 2004-05 season. D'Antoni, a former professional basketball player in Italy, was named the 12th head coach in franchise history. D'Antoni is currently ranked second behind Fitzsimmons in regular season games coached with 389, with a winning percentage of.650, also the second highest winning ratio of any head coach appointed by the Suns management. In terms of regular season wins, D'Antoni is also the second winningest coach in Suns history with 253 wins. However, his playoff career in Phoenix puts him thirty games short for the most games coached in the post-season with 51 total playoff games, and winning 26 of them for a playoff winning percentage of.510. His signature fast-paced offensive plays have made the Suns a fan favorite during his tenure, but have come up short in winning the NBA title.

No.1: John MacLeod (1973 - 1987)

John MacLeod is the best head coach in Phoenix Suns history. With 14 years of coaching under his belt, MacLeod has amassed numerous Phoenix Suns head coaching records in every major category. He holds the franchise record for the most regular season games coached with 1,122, and most regular season games won with 579. The legendary coach has combined a winning percentage of.516 for his regular season coaching career with the Suns. Aside from the regular season, MacLeod also leads the franchise in playoff games coached and playoff wins, with 81 and 37 games respectively, for a win-loss percentage of.457. MacLeod gave the Suns a streak of NBA success during his tenure, and his teams have always overachieved to make the playoffs. Despite his charismatic leadership, MacLeod was unable to get the Suns that needed push to win the prestigious NBA championship. His coaching career is highlighted by the Suns' NBA Finals appearance in 1976 against Dave Cowens and the Boston Celtics, in what many considered the greatest game in NBA history during Game 5 of the best of seven series.

The Phoenix Suns have been granted multiple opportunities in their franchise's storied history. While some head coaches proved their worth by leading the Suns to basketball excellence, the numbers can attest to truth, that John MacLeod is the greatest Phoenix Suns head coach of all time.

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Source: EzineArticles
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