go to MSN.com
Originally written on Laker Nation  |  Last updated 11/20/14

Image Credit: US Presswire Despite being passed over for the Lakers’ head coaching vacancy in November, legendary coach Phil Jackson remains optimistic about his former team. This week, Sports Illustrated’s Jack McCallum interviewed the 13-time champion (11 titles as a coach, two as a player) about a few basketball-related topics. The following is Jackson’s insight on the current Lakers’ issues, Dwight Howard, his own future in the NBA, and whether or not the Lakers will make the playoffs this season: When asked what Jackson sees in the Lakers right now, considering the personnel changes and injuries, Jackson lamented: They just don’t put the ball in the post. They’ll use a screen-roll to get the guy in the post. But there’s no consistent plan to do it. Yes, Kobe will go in there. But Dwight just doesn’t get any touches. They’ve basically eliminated his assets. Jackson was then asked about Howard’s screen and rolls: You want the ball 10 feet away from the basket. Throw it into the post, make them double-team and have everybody around to make shots. That’s what Shaq could do. That’s where you have the Robert Horrys, the Derek Fishers and the Rick Foxes sitting out there getting wide-open jumpers. Can Howard’s presence inside be similar to Shaq’s, in the aspect of drawing the double team and finding open teammates? I think he can be. But he is not where he needs to be physically because of the back surgery. He needs a year to recover from something like that. He’s starting to come around, but he has a massive upper body to carry around. He’s a terrific athlete, but he still has to get all that back. He’s looking better all the time, but his problem right now is turnovers. He’s got to have a little better recognition, and that will help him gain the confidence of his teammates and coach, which he does not have now. When asked about the issues regarding Howard and Pau Gasol playing together: Well, what is the problem? We won two championships that way [with two big men]. Pau is one of the best big men in the game. I mean, Pau Gasol is going to be in the Hall of Fame. Have the Lakers been improving? And will they still make the playoffs? Yes, I think they are finding a way to play. And that’s nice to see. Steve Nash has had to sacrifice because Kobe is dominating the ball, but Kobe is showing he can be both playmaker and scorer. Now it’s about defense. And I think that’s coming around. They make the playoffs; I think they’ve shown they’re going to be in it with every team. Does Jackson ever feel compelled to visit Staples Center for a game? I haven’t yet. I’ll probably go when Shaq’s number is retired [on April 2]. When asked about Jackson’s run in Los Angeles: I did have a good run. There were always people who didn’t like the triangle, thought it was too methodical, too unlike Showtime. But I was always astonished about how well I was treated. When I came back [in 2005] and took the job, people actually thanked me. They didn’t say, “Good luck.” They said “Thank you.” I never forgot that. Will Jackson ever coach in the NBA again? I’m not coaching. I told Mitch [Kupchak, Lakers General Manager] that back in October. So when we sat down in November [to talk about taking over after Mike Brown was fired], he brought that up and I said, “Well, this isn’t about moving or going somewhere else and learning new players. It’s different. So I’m ready to think about coming back, but I still have to think about it.” But I do hold out the idea that there’s still influence in the game I could have. Red Auerbach, Pete Newell, Wayne Embry, guys like that have had … a number of people have had considerable influence and haven’t been coaches per se. What about a management job? Vice president of basketball operations/director of player personnel is more like it. Jackson was also asked whether he watches games and if he takes notes on them: I sometimes take notes. I have some people who have come to me and ask, “Would you watch my team, see if you can pick anything up?” Four or five teams, plus the Lakers. [He wouldn't identify the other teams.] So while I’m not officially in the consulting business, it might come in handy sometime. Since he’s been away from the game for two years, has the league changed at all? Not really. It’s a mimic league. It has been for a long time. Coaches see something and say, “Oh, that’s hard to defend. Maybe we’ll run that.” Screen-roll. Three-point shooters in the corner. Bigs that can roll and pop. San Antonio has a system, a way of doing things, and maybe a couple others. But most everybody runs that screen-roll. How does the game look from the outside looking in? Basketball is a simple game. Your goal is penetration, get the ball close to the basket, and there are three ways to do that. Pass, dribble and offensive rebound. The easiest one is — or should be — the pass. But the new rules allow you to throw more people at post-up players. NBA basketball is a big man’s game, and in the past they protected that aspect of the game. Well, those rules went out the window and what they didn’t do was consider this: If they’re going to continue to allow zone defenses to work and shut down the paint, then they have to put six more seconds on the shot clock. A 30-second clock. But they’re so attached to the idea of the 24-second clock that it doesn’t happen. Anyway, [allowing limited zones] has eliminated some of the post passing and made dribbling a major part of our game. As a result, I think people forgot that there are still ways you can get the ball inside rather than just standing there and throwing the ball in. You have to have a system that makes all things work. Pop [San Antonio's Gregg Popovich] has that. How would he describe that system? Popovich made significant growth 10 years ago or so after David Robinson left. It had been pretty stilted. You know, two big guys. A lot of stuff he does represents the triangle offense. They flow into it a different way. Strong-side triangle. Pinch-post action. Some of it may have come about because we were going at each other all the time in the playoffs and he had to defend against it. Finally, what does Jackson miss most about coaching? What you might expect. Being around the other coaches, being around the guys. It’s what I talked about in my book [Eleven Rings]. Coaching is about, “How do I get these people to play at their peak level?” Yeah, the X’s and O’s mean something, but you can get people to do that. And a lot of those guys have been hired. The Lawrence Franks and the Frank Vogels. Mike Brown was one of those guys. That’s not a knock. Those guys know how to coach the game. But coaching is much more than that. It is a spiritual quest. And if it’s not that, you don’t have a challenge, you don’t have a mission. Forming a brotherhood and trying to move it forward, that’s the part that I miss. Sure sounds a lot like something the current Lakers’ head coach, Mike D’Antoni, lacks. That all-important “spiritual quest.” The post Phil Jackson: “Lakers have eliminated Dwight’s assets” appeared first on Laker Nation.

More from Laker Nation:
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Robert Kraft: Richard Sherman is a 'marketing whiz'

Rob Gronkowski's party bus headed to Super Bowl

Matt Barnes not happy with NBA for $25,000 fine

Brandon Browner: 'No hard feelings' with Sherman, Thomas

Gronk reads erotica, sings Katy Perry at SB Media Day

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Governor donates $10K to UNM hoops star’s cancer charity

U.S. Soccer: Hope Solo needs to do 'number of things' to return

K.J. Wright: Targeting injured players 'unacceptable'

Five reasons the Patriots will win the Super Bowl

Five reasons the Seahawks will win the Super Bowl

Bill Simmons fires a shot at ESPN colleague Ray Lewis

James Shields need to adjust his contract expectations

Kurt Warner wonders about Patriots cheating in Super Bowl

4-star QB recruit decommits from Michigan

Top storylines for Super Bowl XLIX

WATCH: Pacquiao, Mayweather meet at halftime of Heat game

One of Tom Brady's ‘treats’ is avocado ice cream

Does MLB need more offense in the modern game?

Re-ranking the Top 25: exposing the biggest flaws

Tiger on wearing mask: ‘Not a lot of brown dudes at ski races’

Putting the Cleveland Cavaliers’ pieces together

Brodeur to retire immediately and join Blues front office

Michael Bennett talks about sex superstition, calls reporter gay

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
RUMORS & GOSSIP

Robert Kraft: Richard Sherman is a 'marketing whiz'

PHOENIX — If Richard Sherman successfully got under Robert Kraft’s skin, then the New England Patriots owner and CEO didn’t show it. The Seattle Seahawks cornerback said Sunday that the Patriots won’t be punished for DeflateGate because Kraft and commissioner Roger Goodell are so close. Kraft and Goodell were photographed together the night before the AFC Championship Game...
Via NESN.com
10 hours ago

Rob Gronkowski's party bus headed to Super Bowl

Good news, everyone. The Gronkowski family party bus is on its way to Glendale, Ariz.   New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski stole the show at Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday by singing Katy Perry and reading from the erotic fiction novel he inspired, but he also gave some important information about his famous party bus. “It’€™s on its way down right now,” Gronkowski said...
Via NESN.com
5 hours ago

Matt Barnes not happy with NBA for $25,000 fine

Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes was fined $25,000 for what the NBA determined was “inappropriate language directed toward a fan” during Sunday’s game against the Phoenix Suns. According to Barnes — who is no stranger to Twitter rants (and being punished for them) — that “fan” was actually Suns owner Robert Sarver, who Barnes Article found on: Next Impulse Sports
Via Next Impulse Sports
8 hours ago

Brandon Browner: 'No hard feelings' with Sherman, Thomas

PHOENIX — Brandon Browner is trying to change, but he’ll always have the Legion of Boom in and on him. The former Seattle Seahawk came out when Browner, who has a Legion of Boom tattoo, talked to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, and told her that his New England Patriots offensive teammates should try to go after Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas’ injuries. Those type of statements...
Via NESN.com
12 hours ago

Gronk reads erotica, sings Katy Perry at SB Media Day

Super Bowl XLIX Media Day got off to a slow start, and then New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski took the podium. That’s when the fun began. Gronkowski entertained reporters and fans from start to finish. No one expected him to read a line from the erotic novel, A Gronking to Remember, but that’s exactly what he did. “In front of the entire country, Gronk’s spikes...
Via The Sports Daily
13 hours ago

Governor donates $10K to UNM hoops star’s cancer charity

Breast cancer is a very personal topic for University of New Mexico basketball star Hugh Greenwood. His mother is battling the disease, and just last week, Greenwood called out a Twitter troll who made horrific jokes about his mom’s illness as the source of motivation behind a 22-point, eight-rebound performance in a win over UNLV. Greenwood’s decision to admonish the Twitter...
Via College Spun
13 hours ago

U.S. Soccer: Hope Solo needs to do 'number of things' to return

Hope Solo isn’t going to waltz back into the United States women’s national soccer team picture unless dancing is one of the items on the “To Do” list that the U.S. Soccer Federation gave her.     U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati and women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis also said Tuesday that Solo must take a number of steps in order to complete her suspension...
Via NESN.com
15 hours ago

K.J. Wright: Targeting injured players 'unacceptable'

Seattle Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright isn’t too happy with his former teammate Brandon Browner. Earlier in the week, Browner told his current New England teammates to attempt to hurt injure Seahawks’ players Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas in the Super Bowl. Wright had this to say regarding Browner’s remarks (via ESPN). I didn’t know he said that, but we don’t play...
Via Sportsnaut
16 hours ago

Five reasons the Patriots will win the Super Bowl

One way or the other, history will be made when the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks meet in Super Bowl XLIX this Sunday. Either Bill...
Via Athlon Sports
16 hours ago

Five reasons the Seahawks will win the Super Bowl

One way or the other, history will be made when the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks meet in Super Bowl XLIX this Sunday. Either Bill...
Via Athlon Sports
16 hours ago
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.