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

Jameis Winston has ‘no baseball’ clause in Bucs contract

Irvin on Seahawks not picking up option: ‘F— that option’

Brandon Prust rips referee, accuses him of on-ice trash talk

LeBron James ditched headband to look more like teammates

Report: Stephen Curry to be named NBA MVP

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Milwaukee Brewers fire manager Ron Roenicke

Drafted player changes Twitter name to ‘Pick 245′

Chip Kelly: Tim Tebow is here to compete for a job

Report: Nigel Williams-Goss transferring to Gonzaga

Philly store offering Eagles 'jersey insurance'

Chris Paul listed as questionable for Game 1 vs. Rockets

Early 2016 NFL Draft prospect rankings

Life without Love: The new-look Cavaliers

Wizards deserve credit for win, but don't read too much into it

Here's why Mayweather-Pacquiao was business as usual

Floyd Mayweather Punch Out mock video game is great

WATCH: Tony Allen walks through children performing, gets booed

Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods have broken up

WATCH: Two games end with baserunners hit by batted balls

WATCH: Damian Lilliard delivers great graduation speech

Jets do not envision Bryce Petty starting in 2015

Clippers beat Spurs on Chris Paul shot in Game 7

Jimmy Kimmel's Manny Pacquiao T-shirt goes viral

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

Jameis Winston has ‘no baseball’ clause in Bucs contract

Jameis Winston isn’t exactly Bo Jackson, but the former Florida State star is damn good at both football and baseball. So good, in fact, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had to protect themselves in writing in case Winston decides football is not the sport for him. Peter King of The MMQB reports that Winston’s contract...Read More
Via Larry Brown Sports
1 hour ago

Irvin on Seahawks not picking up option: ‘F— that option’

Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin learned over the weekend that the team will not be picking up the fifth-year option on his contract. Either the Seahawks will work out a long-term extension with Irvin at some point over the next year, or he will hit the free agent market at the end of the 2015...Read More
Via Larry Brown Sports
3 hours ago

Brandon Prust rips referee, accuses him of on-ice trash talk

Brandon Prust on Sunday accused a referee of targeting him. The Montreal Canadiens forward had a frustrating night, as the Tampa Bay Lightning rolled to a 6-2 win over the Habs, giving the Bolts a 2-0 lead with the series shifting to Tampa Bay. Prust’s frustrations boiled over with a late fight, but he also had issues with one of Game 2’s referees. Prust ripped referee Brad...
Via NESN.com
3 hours ago

LeBron James ditched headband to look more like teammates

LeBron James has worn a headband throughout most of his NBA career, but it has been over a month since he had anything on his head during a game. LeBron’s reason for ditching the headband has to do with team unity. “I did it because I just wanted to look like my teammates,” James told...Read More
Via Larry Brown Sports
4 hours ago

Report: Stephen Curry to be named NBA MVP

This shouldn’t come as too much of a shock given his individual success on the best team in the NBA. Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry will reportedly be named the MVP. According to CSN Bay Area’s Monte Pool, the official announcement will come later this week, likely between the team’s Game 1 win against the Memphis Grizzlies and its Game 2 outing Tuesday night in...
Via Sportsnaut
15 hours ago

Milwaukee Brewers fire manager Ron Roenicke

After a humiliating 7-18 start to the season, the Milwaukee Brewers have announced that manager Ron Roenicke has been fired. The announcement came via a press release on Twitter. Roenicke relieved of managerial duties: pic.twitter.com/MKPngn9ykO — Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) May 4, 2015   This has been a difficult start to the season, something we definitely did...
Via Sportsnaut
13 hours ago

Drafted player changes Twitter name to ‘Pick 245′

Heading into this weekend’s NFL Draft, Tre McBride was pegged as possible third or fourth round selection. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen as the wide receiver from William & Mary was chosen by the Titans in the seventh round. Now, McBride’s Twitter account is a reminder of when he was drafted. Having already chosen Marcus Mariota...Read More
Via Larry Brown Sports
14 hours ago

Chip Kelly: Tim Tebow is here to compete for a job

The Philadelphia Eagles almost literally have the biggest circus in town. It’s actually comparable to the Ringling Brothers with Chip Kelly running the show. It also consists of quarterbacks Mark Sanchez, Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow and Matt Barkley. While nothing should surprise us when it comes to the Eagles’ offseason moves, many questioned why the team chose Tebow of all quarterbacks...
Via Sportsnaut
18 hours ago

Report: Nigel Williams-Goss transferring to Gonzaga

Nigel Williams-Goss, a rising junior guard for the Washington Huskies, will be transferring to Gonzaga, according to a report by ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman.  Williams-Goss, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard, had a sensational sophomore season for the Huskies, averaging 15.6 points, 5.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds a game.  He announced he was transferring out of the program earlier this...
Via College Spun
22 hours ago

Philly store offering Eagles 'jersey insurance'

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly may have indicated during the draft that it was safe for fans to buy Sam Bradford jerseys. In fact, Kelly went as far to indicate that the team never had any plans to trade Bradford during his appearance on NFL Network’s draft coverage. That’s fine and dandy, but one local sporting goods chain based in Philadelphia isn’t buying into...
Via Sportsnaut
22 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.