go to MSN.com
Originally written on Laker Nation  |  Last updated 2/19/13

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: Serena Williams wags finger at Wimbledon crowd, says, 'Don’t try me'

Report: Rajon Rondo headed to Sacramento Kings

Dez Bryant deal with Cowboys could be announced Monday

Brandon Saad, Ryan O’Reilly sign long-term contracts with Columbus, Buffalo

Dallas Mavericks solidify future with Wesley Matthews and DeAndre Jordan signings

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

A-Rod, Yankees settle dispute over home run milestone bonus

Report: Robin Lopez, Knicks finalizing four-year deal

Becky Hammon will coach Spurs' Summer League team

Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose: ‘I don’t think we have any issues’

Yankees get A-Rod's 3,000th hit ball for $150,000 donation

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Jeanie Buss: Brother Jim will step down if Lakers don't make deep run within two seasons

DeAndre Jordan to Dallas: The Los Angeles Clippers are literally mad men

Remember when the Cincinnati Bearcats were the scariest team in America?

Are the Angels now the worst organization in baseball?

Five reasons the Browns should play Johnny Manziel

Blue Jays need rookies to keep producing for success in 2015

WATCH: Sean Doolittle gets cup check from teammate

University of Florida developing high-tech smart mouth guard

Pat McAfee is the best punter in NFL history

Mets coach on slump: The only thing left is human sacrifice

MLB teams who will continue to surprise in second half

2015 Women’s World Cup Final: The Rematch

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: Serena Williams wags finger at Wimbledon crowd, says, 'Don’t try me'

Serena Williams delivered a strong message to the Wimbledon crowd during her third-round match at the tournament Friday. During the third set of her comeback win over hometown player Heather Watson, Williams was down 5-4 and leading 15-30 as she tried to get a break to get back on serve. There was a long rally...Read More
Via Larry Brown Sports
2 hours ago

Report: Rajon Rondo headed to Sacramento Kings

The Sacramento Kings appeared to be the only team interested in free agent Rajon Rondo, and the point guard is officially going to become a member of the squad. According to Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports, Rondo will sign a one-year deal with the Kings. Rajon Rondo to sign one-year, $10 million deal with Kings, source told Yahoo — Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 3, 2015...
Via Sportsnaut
2 hours ago

Dez Bryant deal with Cowboys could be announced Monday

Earlier this week we reported on a rumor that a new long-term deal between Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys was imminent. Now it sounds like the deal is done and it may only be a few days before the news is announced. According to a report by Mike Fisher at CBS, the Cowboys will share the details with the public after the holiday weekend: “… sources tell me his wait is almost...
Via cover32
7 hours ago

Brandon Saad, Ryan O’Reilly sign long-term contracts with Columbus, Buffalo

A pair of young NHL stars signed long-term contracts Friday. Right winger Brandon Saad signed a six-year contract worth a reported $36 million with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in a multi-player trade earlier in the week. .@BSaad20: "I know (#CBJ) has a lot of talented guys. They're tough to play against & I'm happy to be a part of...
Via NESN.com
4 hours ago

Dallas Mavericks solidify future with Wesley Matthews and DeAndre Jordan signings

DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews will be joining the Dallas Mavericks The tide seems to be turning. When there were numerous reports that the ex-Mavs free agents such as Tyson Chandler, Monta Ellis, and Al-Farouq Aminu have found new teams 48 hours into free agency. Meanwhile, the Dallas Mavericks had yet to make a move. Such silence made some fans worry about the franchise...
Via isportsweb.com
4 hours ago

A-Rod, Yankees settle dispute over home run milestone bonus

The 4th of July holiday may be just around the corner, but Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees appear hellbent on tying up a lot of loose ends related to the team’s designated hitter before the holiday weekend, as the team issued a press release indicating the parties have settled a dispute over a...Read More The post Alex Rodriguez, Yankees settle dispute over home run milestone...
Via Sportress of Blogitude
6 hours ago

Report: Robin Lopez, Knicks finalizing four-year deal

The “Summer of Strangely Good Decisions” continues for the New York Knicks. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the franchise is closing a deal with free agent Robin Lopez. The Knicks are finalizing a four-year, $54 million agreement with free agent center Robin Lopez, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. — Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 3, 2015 ...
Via Sportsnaut
7 hours ago

Becky Hammon will coach Spurs' Summer League team

This is progress. According to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News, former WNBA star turned San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon will coach a Summer League team for the organization. Non-free agency update: Becky Hammon will coach Spurs' Summer Leaguers in Vegas. Will Hardy will coach Spurs in Salt Lake. — Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) July 3, 2015 ...
Via Sportsnaut
8 hours ago

Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose: ‘I don’t think we have any issues’

Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose are going to be teammates with the Chicago Bulls for at least two more seasons. Does that mean they will be become best friends during that time? No, but no one said they need to. In an interview with Rolling Stone’s Seerat Sohi, Butler was asked about the recent report...Read More
Via Larry Brown Sports
10 hours ago

Yankees get A-Rod's 3,000th hit ball for $150,000 donation

The long and sordid saga revolving around the ultimate fate of the ball Alex Rodriguez deposited into the outfield seats at Yankee Stadium for his 3,000th hit has finally reached a resolution. Zack Hample, a “professional ballhawk” who was uncooperative at best after procuring the baseball after A-Rod’s solo shot in the first inning on...Read More The post Yankees get A-Rod’s...
Via Sportress of Blogitude
9 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.