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

WATCH: Klay Thompson takes knee to head from Ariza

DeSean Jackson skips Redskins OTAs, goes to Cavs game

Texans to be featured on HBO's 'Hard Knocks'

WATCH: Ducks score controversial goal

Report: Ray McDonald arrested for violating restraining order

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Braves, Dodgers complete six-player swap

USA Soccer, CONCACAF losers in FIFA’s ‘World Cup of fraud’

Report: Tom Brady suspension appeal date not set yet

Are the St. Louis Rams setting up Nick Foles for failure?

LeBron: Didn't see Cavs reaching Finals at start of season

Pete Carroll: Communication with Russell Wilson is ‘great’

Lil B takes credit for Harden's terrible game, lifts curse

Riley Curry steals show at postgame news conference

Warriors beat Rockets in Game 5, advance to NBA Finals

Kentucky fan in Louisville has 38-1 sticker on car

Nick Kyrgios talks sex before tourneys, dating female players

Jared Dudley: 'Melo is most overrated player in NBA

Garrick Sherman bashes NCAA in epic drunken Twitter rant

Adrian Peterson denies reports that he wants to be traded

Report: Bulls players told Tom Thibodeau will not be back

Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders "gets it"

Bucs DE George Johnson is a dog show enthusiast

The 3-point shot has become a divisive metaphor in the NBA

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

WATCH: Klay Thompson takes knee to head from Ariza

The Golden State Warriors took care of the Houston Rockets and emerged victorious in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday night, but a big question mark surrounds the health of the Splash Brothers—Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Curry took a scary fall and exited Game 4, although he did later return. The league’s MVP struggled on Wednesday as well, draining...
Via The Sports Daily
6 hours ago

DeSean Jackson skips Redskins OTAs, goes to Cavs game

DeSean Jackson was surrounded by red and gold jerseys Tuesday, but they didn’t belong to the Washington Redskins. The Redskins wide receiver wasn’t in attendance for his team’s first day of organized team activities. Normally, this wouldn’t be that big of a deal, as OTAs are completely voluntary under the new collective bargaining agreement and Jackson even told Washington...
Via NESN.com
16 hours ago

Texans to be featured on HBO's 'Hard Knocks'

It’s official, the Houston Texans are set to be on Hard Knocks this season. The Texans were one of three finalists being considered for the show, “winning out” over the Bills and Redskins. Of the three franchises, insights into the disaster that’s been the Redskins in the Dan Snyder era might have been the most entertaining, but the Texans should turn out to be a good choice...
Via This Given Sunday
17 hours ago

WATCH: Ducks score controversial goal

Corey Crawford was pretty upset after Clayton Stoner scored and he had every reason to be. As he was reaching for the puck, Crawford’s glove was bumped by Jakob Silfverberg. The officials appeared to miss the contact completely and the goal counted. Plays like these will benefit from the future addition of a coach’s challenge. (H/T Reddit Hockey) The post Video: Crawford’s...
Via Puck Drunk Love
8 hours ago

Report: Ray McDonald arrested for violating restraining order

Former San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested for the second time in two days on Wednesday. Two days after McDonald was arrested on domestic violence and child endangerment charges in San Jose, he was once again detained by police. Wednesday’s arrest stems from McDonald violating a court-ordered restraining order to stay away from his...
Via Sportsnaut
9 hours ago

Braves, Dodgers complete six-player swap

It took a little while to get here, with an unexpected obstacle or two, but we’ve got a six-player trade between the Braves and the Dodgers. The youngest player involved is 27, the average age of the players is about 31, and this year they’ve all combined to be worth -1.2 WAR. Sounds to me […]
Via Fangraphs
15 hours ago

USA Soccer, CONCACAF losers in FIFA’s ‘World Cup of fraud’

  American soccer is more valuable than we think, and it would be much bigger today than it currently is if corrupt officials hadn’t been stealing from the till for the last quarter century.   Damming allegations from federal authorities in the United States and Switzerland followed Wednesday’s FIFA arrests, which are shaking the soccer world and producing this...
Via NESN.com
12 hours ago

Report: Tom Brady suspension appeal date not set yet

Uncertainty continues to swirl around Tom Brady’s four-game suspension. A date hasn’t been set for Brady’s suspension appeal, a source with knowledge of the situation told ProFootballTalk. The deadline to set a date is May 27, but the NFL and NFL players association can agree to postpone it. The NFLPA hopes to complete the appeal in June, PFT reports. That would leave time...
Via NESN.com
13 hours ago

Are the St. Louis Rams setting up Nick Foles for failure?

A couple of years ago Nick Foles broke the NFL’s record for touchdown to interception ratio for a single season. While a lot of those came in a single game against the Oakland Raiders, one of the big reasons is because he had plenty of weapons to work with. DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper combined for over two thousand receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. Tight ends Brent Celek...
Via cover32
15 hours ago

LeBron: Didn't see Cavs reaching Finals at start of season

LeBron James was brutally honest during his post-game comments Tuesday night regarding what he envisioned as the prospects for his first season back with the Cleveland Cavaliers. To put it bluntly, he held out little hope that the team would be in the position it finds itself: Poised for an appearance in the NBA Finals.”Could...Read More The post LeBron James admits he didn...
Via Sportress of Blogitude
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.