Accurate tracking of nonminimum phase (NMP) systems is well known to require large amounts of control effort. It is, therefore, of practical value to minimize the effort needed to achieve a desired level of tracking accuracy for NMP systems. There is growing interest in the use of the filtered basis functions (FBF) approach for tracking the control of linear NMP systems because of distinct performance advantages it has over other methods. The FBF approach expresses the control input as a linear combination of user-defined basis functions. The basis functions are forward filtered through the dynamics of the plant, and the coefficients are selected such that the tracking error is minimized. There is a wide variety of basis functions that can be used with the FBF approach, but there has been no work to date on how to select the best set of basis functions. Toward selecting the best basis functions, the Frobenius norm of the lifted system representation (LSR) of dynamics is proposed as an excellent metric for evaluating the performance of linear time varying (LTV) discrete-time tracking controllers, like FBF, independent of the desired trajectory to be tracked. Using the metric, an optimal set of basis functions that minimize the control effort without sacrificing tracking accuracy is proposed. The optimal set of basis functions is shown in simulations and experiments to significantly reduce control effort while maintaining or improving tracking accuracy compared to popular basis functions, like B-splines.