go to MSN.com
Originally written on Laker Nation  |  Last updated 10/24/14

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

C-USA hired PR firm to help Marshall’s playoff chances

Wilson denies rumored Harvin rift, blames media for scrutiny

Report: Cowboys could limit DeMarco Murray's touches

Lakers announce Steve Nash to miss season with back issues

Is Mack Brown the best option for SMU?

Jeremy Kerley on new contract: 'Bentleys for everybody'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Buss: Any FA who won’t play with Kobe ‘probably a loser’

NFL to start airing its own anti-domestic violence PSAs

Ex-Bronco John Boyett punched cabbie, told cops to call Elway

Former NFL QB still feels effects of concussions every day

Robert Klemko given four-week suspension from The MMQB

Michael Vick: Percy Harvin won't be a monster here

NFL teams facing potential must-win scenarios in Week 8

WATCH: Jeremy Lin poses as Adidas employee for prank

WATCH: Peyton screams at fans to 'shut the f- up!'

Father auctioning off infant son's soccer club allegiance

Love thanks T'Wolves fans in essay for not burning his jersey

WATCH: Browns WR 'kicks out' son over favorite player snub

Memorabilia dealer wants Todd Gurley reinstated immediately

Aaron Rodgers gave girlfriend Olivia Munn a 'special ring'?

The 10 college football programs with most to gain in Week 9

Most disappointing potential dynasties of divisional era

WATCH: OHL hockey coach goes off on reporter: ‘F*** you!’

PK Subban as Michael Jackson at Canadiens' Halloween party

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

C-USA hired PR firm to help Marshall’s playoff chances

In less than a week, college football’s playoff selection committee will release its first rankings. Mississippi State and Ole Miss will be near the top, barring slip ups this weekend. So will Florida State, who doesn’t play again until after the initial rankings are released. Among the schools not likely to be particularly high is...Read More
Via Larry Brown Sports
7 hours ago

Wilson denies rumored Harvin rift, blames media for scrutiny

Russell Wilson on Thursday had the first time to respond to report from Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman that further perpetuated the suspicion that at least one of the reasons the Seattle Seahawks had no choice but to deal Percy Harvin was a perceived rift between the fiery wide receiver and the third-year signal-caller. “Percy and...Read More The post Russell Wilson: ‘Percy...
Via Sportress of Blogitude
8 hours ago

Report: Cowboys could limit DeMarco Murray's touches

DeMarco Murray is having one hell of a season right now with the Dallas Cowboys. If he keeps pace, there’s potential for him to break the single-season NFL record for the most touches and rushing yards. The star running back is getting a lot of touches per game, but he hasn’t slowed down one bit. Murray is currently getting about 30 touches per game, way up from when he was averaging...
Via BlackSportsOnline
12 hours ago

Lakers announce Steve Nash to miss season with back issues

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash  is expected to be ruled out for the 2014-15 NBA season because of recurring nerve damage in his back, reports Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. Nash, 40, expected this season, his 19th, to be his final one.  But he has not announced his retirement. The two-time league MVP is in the final year of a three-year, $28 million deal with the...
Via Sports-Glory
8 hours ago

Is Mack Brown the best option for SMU?

It’s no secret that the SMU Mustangs are interested in convincing former Texas coach Mack Brown to come out of retirement and take over the reigns of the program, but Dallas Morning News columnist Bill Nichols dropped a bombshell this morning when he stated in his column that SMU officials are willing to offer Brown an eight-year, $32 million contract. Nichols claimed that...
Via AAC Football Fever
12 hours ago

Jeremy Kerley on new contract: 'Bentleys for everybody'

You could say Jeremy Kerley was in a charitable mood after landing a lucrative contract extension. Very, very charitable. “Yeah, man, I’m going to buy Bentleys for everybody,” Kerley joked, via NJ.com. The Jets’ fourth-year wide receiver on Tuesday signed a four-year deal worth up to $16 million, with $5.4 million guaranteed. A fleet of Bentleys is likely out of the question...
Via Helmet2Helmet
11 hours ago

Buss: Any FA who won’t play with Kobe ‘probably a loser’

When Los Angeles Lakers president Jeanie Buss made her first comments in reaction to the scathing “ESPN The Magazine” piece by Henry Abbott regarding her team’s veteran superstar, she didn’t merely defend Kobe Bryant, she went on an aggressive offensive. Unlike others who chose to directly criticize Abbott and the magazine over the content of...Read More The post Lakers...
Via Sportress of Blogitude
15 hours ago

NFL to start airing its own anti-domestic violence PSAs

You may have noticed, in recent weeks, that the National Football League has been airing spots for Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation via its “No More” campaign PSAs. In the spots, stars like Hargitay, Amy Poehler, Andre Braugher and Ice-T call for an end to domestic violence. The message is very simple, and the ads gain an added poignancy...
Via Awful Announcing
15 hours ago

Ex-Bronco John Boyett punched cabbie, told cops to call Elway

In the land of police blurbs, this might very well come close to taking the cake. The Denver Broncos released safety John Boyett on Thursday after he was arrested for assaulting a a cab driver. The former practice squad player apparently head-butted and punched a taxi driver in a bit of drunken rage early Wednesday morning. He then stole a shovel from a construction site and tried...
Via Sportsnaut
12 hours ago

Former NFL QB still feels effects of concussions every day

Former NFL quarterback Kevin Kolb was forced to end his playing career before he reached his 30s because of head injuries. Kolb suffered four concussions that we know about. The first came in 2010 when he was with the Philadelphia Eagles and the last in a 2013 preseason game with the Buffalo Bills. The 29-year-old...Read More
Via Larry Brown Sports
13 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.