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:
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Jim Harbaugh to Michigan is done deal

Amari Cooper not a fan of New Orleans, thinks it smells

WATCH: Jennifer Lawrence does Louisville chant at game

WATCH: Did Bret Bielema do ‘Horns Down’ gesture?

Devils unveil unique coaching by committee situation

Report: 49ers expect Jim Harbaugh to take Michigan job

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Johnny Manziel fined for being late to treatment

Duke Johnson's mother says son will enter NFL Draft

Starlin Castro questioned following nightclub shooting

Report: Jeff Driskel thinking about transfer to Duke

Browns suspend Josh Gordon for final game of season

Report: Rex Ryan has already cleaned out his office

WATCH: Nebraska safety pukes on field, keeps playing

WATCH: Nyquist holds puck for 28 seconds, scores OT winner

WATCH: Kevin Garnett blows in David West's ear

WATCH: Frank Beamer busts a move after bowl win

Bears could clean house after season

Nebraska chancellor booed by Huskers players?

WATCH: Rory McIlroy trolled by 'Sweet Caroline' song

Auburn, Wisconsin players literally ate tons of food

Did Kobe Bryant respond to heckler with the rings count?

Doug Fister bought Starbucks for his Twitter followers

DeMarco Murray dumped over cheating accusations?

Video: Rudy Gay tosses half-court alley-oop to McLemore

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.
RUMORS & GOSSIP

Report: Jim Harbaugh to Michigan is done deal

What was reported earlier Saturday by Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole has now been confirmed by New York Times bestselling writer John U. Bacon.  Jim Harbaugh is coming to Michigan.  According to Cole, Harbaugh’s deal is expected to be six years for $48 million. Per Bacon, the deal is “done” and Harbaugh’s friends are flying into Ann Arbor, Mich., on Monday.  I just...
Via College Spun
8 hours ago

Amari Cooper not a fan of New Orleans, thinks it smells

Sometimes if you don’t have anything good to say, then it’s probably better that you just don’t say anything at all. Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper made comments on Sunday that could haunt him years into his NFL career. The Heisman Trophy finalist has placed himself at the center of controversy after being overheard saying that New Orleans–the site of the Sugar Bowl–stinks...
Via Thacover2
11 hours ago

WATCH: Jennifer Lawrence does Louisville chant at game

Most Louisville fans consider Jennifer Lawrence, a noted Cardinals fan, to be the perfect woman. Case in point? Check out the below video, which shows her participating in the team’s C-A-R-D-S chant and then eating a slice of pizza. Mark Blankenbaker of The Crunch Zone posted it to YouTube early in the first half of today’s UK vs. UL contest. Relevant. Swoon.
Via College Spun
16 hours ago

WATCH: Did Bret Bielema do ‘Horns Down’ gesture?

The internet was consumed Saturday with questions about whether Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema did the “Horns Down” gesture while shaking hands with Texas’ Charlie Strong. The two coaches shook hands Saturday ahead of Monday’s Advocare V100 Texas Bowl between the programs. Some photographs began circulating of Bielema appearing to do the gesture while shaking...Read More
Via Larry Brown Sports
8 hours ago

Devils unveil unique coaching by committee situation

Shortly after the New Jersey Devils fired head coach Pete DeBoer, the attention soon shifted to potential replacements for the vacated position. Scott Stevens and Adam Oates were a couple of the names discussed, but the Devils opted to go in a new direction. They hired both men. The club also announced that GM Lou Lamoriello would be behind the bench, overseeing things as Stevens...
Via Puck Drunk Love
19 hours ago

Report: 49ers expect Jim Harbaugh to take Michigan job

Jim Harbaugh to Michigan is looking more likely by the day. According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, multiple members of the San Francisco 49ers staff and at least one other NFL source expect Harbaugh to accept Michigan’s offer as soon as the NFL season concludes. “That’s what everybody on staff believes is going to...Read More
Via Larry Brown Sports
13 hours ago

Report: Johnny Manziel fined for being late to treatment

Johnny Manziel is out for the remainder of the season with a hamstring injury, but that isn’t stopping him from screwing up. According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Manziel has been fined by the Cleveland Browns for showing up late to receive treatment for his injury. As a player who is...Read More
Via Larry Brown Sports
13 hours ago

Duke Johnson's mother says son will enter NFL Draft

Twitter/@BernardJoints There has been a lot of speculation over the future of Miami running back Duke Johnson, but as many have expected, he will declare for the NFL Draft after today’s Independence Bowl. Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post caught up with Johnson’s mother, Cassandra Mitchell, who confirmed that today’s game against South Carolina would be Johnson’s last...
Via College Spun
14 hours ago

Starlin Castro questioned following nightclub shooting

It seems like just yesterday that Starlin Castro was questioned (or not) after a nightclub shooting in his native Dominican Republic and deemed to be, simply, “in the wrong place at the wrong time”. Now, the Chicago Cubs All-Star is being questioned in connection with another nightclub shooting. Ok, again. #Cubs Starlin Castro was detained by the authorities for questioning...
Via Hall of Very Good
15 hours ago

Report: Jeff Driskel thinking about transfer to Duke

Jeff Driskel’s playing days in Florida are likely over. The Gators’ redshirt junior quarterback was replaced as the starter by freshman Treon Harris midway through the 2014 season and is now considering a transfer, according to reports.  According to Laura Keeley of the Raleigh News & Observer, Driskel might land at Duke. The redshirt junior has one year of eligibility...
Via College Spun
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.