go to MSN.com
Originally written on Laker Nation  |  Last updated 11/20/14

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

Report: Robert Griffin III benched by Redskins for McCoy

Dice-K Matsuzaka headed back to Japan

Lovie Smith: 2-9 Bucs are still in playoff contention

UCLA QB Brett Hundley likely to enter NFL draft

Bills will return to Ralph Wilson Stadium for Sunday's game

Miller to Oregon transfer rumor originates on Reddit

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Valencia FC ditches bat logo amidst DC Comics challenge

Paul Pierce: Celtics' Big Three was like 'Holy Trinity'

Cubs reportedly offer Jon Lester more than $135 million

Colin Kaepernick: Jim Harbaugh will be back in 2015

Jeremy Maclin not happy with Riley Cooper’s contract remark

Broncos reportedly waive kicker McManus, sign Connor Barth

Alabama DL trolls Auburn with Instagram photo

Derrick Rose leaves game with hamstring tightness

Rockies pitcher takes shot at former Astros pitcher

WATCH: Paul Pierce signs autograph during game

Jeremy Hill asks great question about alma mater LSU

NBA rookie rankings after 1st month of 2014-15 season

Statistic about Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler very revealing

Aaron Rodgers blasts those who accused him of trolling Vikings

The century's 10 most one-sided college football rivalries

WATCH: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of NBA's first month

Sherman mocks NFL media policies in press conference

Why Packers' offense continues to evolve despite success

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: Robert Griffin III benched by Redskins for McCoy

According to ESPN insider Adam Schefter, the Washington Redskins are now planning on starting Colt McCoy over Robert Griffin III Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. Washington is planning to start Colt McCoy over Robert Griffin III on Sunday at Indianapolis, per a team source…. http://t.co/o0WZcOitBr — Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 26, 2014   This comes on...
Via Sportsnaut
2 hours ago

Dice-K Matsuzaka headed back to Japan

According to the Japan Times, Daisuke Matsuzaka is returning to Japan after playing six seasons with the Red Sox and the past two seasons with the Mets. He’s agreed to a contract with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, who are the reigning Japanese League champions. Matsuzaka left Japan in 2007 to sign a $51 million contract with the Red Sox and had immediate success, but he has since...
Via On-Base Talk
1 hour ago

Lovie Smith: 2-9 Bucs are still in playoff contention

Tweet Just how bad has the NFC South been this season? So bad that at 2-9, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are just 2 games out of first place. Because they are a couple wins away from playoff contention, Bucs head coach Lovie Smith sees no reason to evaluate younger players in the final month of the regular season. “We’re two games out of first place,” Smith said Monday...
Via Los That Sports Blog
13 hours ago

UCLA QB Brett Hundley likely to enter NFL draft

UCLA QB Brett Hundley recently told Jim Rome of CBS Sports that his college career is likely over after this season. “There’s a really good chance that was my last game against USC,” Hundley said, via KFWBAM.com. “The conversation keep coming up. I’ve got my degree. I’ve done everything I wanted to do here. I’ve left something really, truly great, and I feel good...
Via NFL Trade Rumors
13 hours ago

Bills will return to Ralph Wilson Stadium for Sunday's game

On Tuesday, the Buffalo Bills confirmed they will return home to Ralph Wilson Stadium to host the Cleveland Browns this Sunday. Their game against the New York Jets was moved to Detroit this past weekend due to a horrendous snowstorm that left the South Buffalo area in a state of emergency. Buffalo was able to beat the Jets 38-3 to keep their playoff hopes alive. After a few...
Via Down and Distance
5 hours ago

Miller to Oregon transfer rumor originates on Reddit

There is a wild and intriguing rumor that emerged on a Reddit college football forum about Braxton Miller transferring to Oregon. Here’s what the Reddit user wrote: I have multiple sources telling me that Urban has told him they will be going forward with Barrett next year. They wanted to give him time to make...Read More
Via Larry Brown Sports
7 hours ago

Valencia FC ditches bat logo amidst DC Comics challenge

DC felt the need to start some problems with a soccer team who has had this logo way before Batman has. The Spanish soccer team, Valencia CF, announced that they will not use a new version of the logo. DC Comics claims that it’s too similar to that of Batman’s but Valencia’s paperwork dates back to 1922. But they decided to part ways with copywriting that logo. There does...
Via Geeks and Cleats
7 hours ago

Paul Pierce: Celtics' Big Three was like 'Holy Trinity'

  The last few years haven’t exactly been kind to the Boston Celtics. But it wasn’t too long ago that wins at TD Garden were as common as traffic on I-93.   Prior to the 2007-08 season, the Celtics signed free agents Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, who teamed up with Paul Pierce to form the celebrated “Big Three.” The trio won nearly 70 percent of its games over...
Via NESN.com
7 hours ago

Cubs reportedly offer Jon Lester more than $135 million

Let me start this off by saying I like Jon Lester and think he’s an excellent pitcher, but if this latest report is true, Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs have officially lost their minds. A report on Tuesday claims the Cubs have offered the free agent left-hander a six-year deal worth “north of” $135 million. Lester is the top lefty on the market this winter and I understand...
Via Rumors and Rants
8 hours ago

Colin Kaepernick: Jim Harbaugh will be back in 2015

There has been a lot of talk about Jim Harbaugh’s future with the San Francisco 49ers. Earlier this year, multiple reports indicated that he would not be back with the team no matter what they did moving forward this season. Other reports told a story of Harbaugh not being well-liked in the locker room. Ever since these reports were made public, mutliple 49ers players have come...
Via Sportsnaut
8 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.