go to MSN.com
Originally written on Laker Nation  |  Last updated 10/23/14

Via Laker Nation:

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 2nd].

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.”

More from Laker Nation:
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Royals take Game 2 to even series with Giants

Report: Roger Goodell will have to testify in Ray Rice case

Blake Griffin accused of slapping man in Las Vegas club

Ronda Rousey to face Cat Zingano at UFC 182

Report: Zach Mettenberger to start for Titans over Locker

LaMarr Woodley likely done for season with biceps injury

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Some Seahawks think Wilson isn’t 'black enough'

Darrelle Revis sent home for being late, misses practice

Report: Texas to pay scholarship athletes $10K per year

Report: Widespread academic fraud occurred at North Carolina

NHL postpones Senators/Leafs game after Ottawa shootings

Lions send player home from London after cutting him

WATCH: Giants pitcher yells at Salvador Perez after HR

Will Muschamp's head coaching job posted on Craigslist

Miss California USA would like to date Eric Hosmer

WATCH: Eric Bledsoe sends Clipper flying with sick move

Kiffin's mom fears for son's safety in return to Tennessee

WATCH: Penguins perform 'O Canada' following tragedy

WATCH: Cutest grandma challenges Dwyane Wade to game of one-on-one

UEFA Champions League midway report: Groups A – D

Report: Expect Florida to make a run at Bob Stoops

Porn star: No one parties harder than Sebastian Janikowski

Outrageous college football predictions: Week 9

World Series Game 2 Preview: Giants vs. Royals

Lakers 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!

RUMORS & GOSSIP

Royals take Game 2 to even series with Giants

After last night’s disappointment, this game was exactly what Royals fans needed to forget about their team’s ugly loss in game one of this series. Like in game one, tonight’s game got off to a rocky start, but after allowing a leadoff home run to former Royal, Gregor Blanco, Ventura settled down. The final run given up by Yordano came in the fourth inning on a Brandon Belt...
Via Royals Blue
8 hours ago

Report: Roger Goodell will have to testify in Ray Rice case

If NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had hopes to remain out of the Ray Rice appeal, which is set for early next month, those hopes have reportedly been thrown out the window. Roger Goodell is being forced to testify at the Ray Rice hearing by judge's ruling, per source. — Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 23, 2014 This is an extremely interesting development. Goodell will...
Via Sportsnaut
11 hours ago

Blake Griffin accused of slapping man in Las Vegas club

A man known only as Daniel claims he was involved in a violent confrontation with Los Angeles Clippers superstar Blake Griffin during an outing at a Las Vegas nightclub last weekend, per a TMZ report. The alleged victim filed a battery report following the incident with the Las Vegas Metro Police Department. The TMZ report...Read More The post Blake Griffin accused of choking, slapping...
Via Sportress of Blogitude
22 hours ago

Ronda Rousey to face Cat Zingano at UFC 182

UFC 182, featuring arguably the most anticipated light heavyweight showdown in octagon history between champion Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier, just got a whole lot more awesome. On this week’s edition of “UFC Tonight,” UFC president Dana White confirmed reigning bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey (pictured) will put her strap up for grabs against Cat Zingano in the show’s co...
Via 5thRound.com
10 hours ago

Report: Zach Mettenberger to start for Titans over Locker

Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean is reporting that the Tennesse Titans plan to start rookie Zach Mettenberger against J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans on Sunday. This move is rather interesting considering that head coach Ken Whisenhunt indicated on Monday that Jake Locker would start when healthy. Now that Locker is ready to go, it appears the team has changed its mind. As Wyatt points...
Via Sportsnaut
9 hours ago

LaMarr Woodley likely done for season with biceps injury

Oakland Raiders defensive end LaMarr Woodley missed practice Wednesday with a bicep injury, and head coach Tony Sparano said during his talk with the media that it “could be serious,” CSN Bay Area reports. Woodley, who signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Raiders during the offseason after he was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers, has […] Raiders DE LaMarr...
Via Steelers Depot
11 hours ago

Report: Some Seahawks think Wilson isn’t 'black enough'

Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report gives an in detailed breakdown of what is going on in the Seattle Locker Room and how that affected the decision to trade Percy Harvin. It appears the root of the problem started with Harvin and Russell Wilson. When there are internal battles between a receiver and quarterback, 99.9% of the time the quarterback is going to win. This was the case in...
Via BlackSportsOnline
19 hours ago

Darrelle Revis sent home for being late, misses practice

Darrelle Revis' absence from Tuesday's practice confused many people.He didn't appear to have suffered an injury in the team's last game against the Jets, and no explanation was given.According to the latest report from Boston Globe NFL writer, Ben Volin, the star cornerback was sent home by his coach for being late. Per @BenVolin, Bill Belichick sent Revis home...
Via Patriots Life
16 hours ago

Report: Texas to pay scholarship athletes $10K per year

Texas AD Steve Patterson(Twitter/@kaybaileyhutch) According to a story by DallasNews.com’s Michael Lindenberger, the University of Texas is taking a big step in student-athlete compensation, and will begin paying scholarship athletes around $10,000 per year to cover additional expenses not accounted for by scholarship, and for the use of the athletes’ images in promotional materials...
Via College Spun
17 hours ago

Report: Widespread academic fraud occurred at North Carolina

A new report compiled by former DOJ (Department of Justice) official Kenneth Wainstein shows widespread academic fraud at the University of North Carolina over the span of two decades. According to the report, the fraud involved thousands of students, half of which were athletes (via Deadspin.com). It (the report) details the extent to which administrators Debby Crowder and Julius...
Via Sportsnaut
18 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.