go to MSN.com
Found February 19, 2013 on Laker Nation:

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:
THE BACKYARD
RELATED ARTICLES

Dwight Howard Mocked Kobe Bryant to All-Star Teammates; Kobe Wasn’t Amused

Kobe wants Dwight Howard to stop clowning around, but Dwight doesn’t know how to act any other way. People may not like Kobe Bryant, but no one questions his desire to be great and his work ethic. That is what gets him the respect from peers and fans alike, but I don’t think anyone respects Dwight Howard right now, on or off the court. Here is just a latest example why from Larry...

Dennis Rodman Breaks Down Trying to Talk About Late Lakers Owner Jerry Buss (Video)

NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman spent one of his 14 NBA seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. That season was 1998-99, and he only played 23 games that year. That doesn’t mean, however, that the enigmatic superstar didn’t get close with Lakers owner Jerry Buss. So you could imagine Rodman was pretty sad when the news came that Buss had passed away Monday. Coincidentally, Rodman...

Kobe Bryant to retire sooner than you think, 1-2 years max! (VIDEO)

Over All-Star weekend Kobe Bryant stopped by the Nike Lounge.  During an interview with former pro Damon Jones for a Nike Basketball segment called “The Athlete Lounge,” Bryant laughed about [...]

Lakers honor Jerry Buss, dominate Celtics

LOS ANGELES The best way for the Los Angeles Lakers to honor their late owner, Jerry Buss, was to beat the hated Boston Celtics. Wednesday night the Lakers did just that, clobbering the Celtics 113-99 at Staples Center. Dwight Howard had 24 points and 12 rebounds, and Kobe Bryant added 16 as the Lakers improved their record to 26-29. Its very fitting (we beat the Celtics) Bryant...

Mitch Kupchak: Dwight Howard is Lakers’ future, should have a statue someday

If the Los Angeles Lakers are exploring the possibility of trading Dwight Howard before the trade deadline on Thursday, they don’t want anyone to know about it. During an interview with ESPN’s Colin Cowherd on Wednesday, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak had nothing but praise for his center. In fact, praise would be an understatement. Kupchak said the team has no intention...

Lakers owner Jerry Buss has passed away

Social media outlets have been rocked with the passing of Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss.  Lakers beat writer for the Los Angeles Times, Mike Bresnahan, broke the news of [...]

Los Angeles Lakers Owner Jerry Buss Dies | American Live Wire

Los Angeles Lakers Owner Jerry Buss Dies | American Live Wire Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss has passed away at the age of 80. The longtime owner of the popular basketball team had been battling cancer since last year, something that was only recently made public knowledge, but actually passed away due to kidney failure. He had just celebrated his 80th birthday...

Jerry Buss Passes Away At 79

Jerry Buss had been hospitalized with an undiagnosed form of cancer.

Jerry Buss, Longtime Owner of Lakers, Dies at 80 After Battle With Cancer

LOS ANGELES — Jerry Buss, the Los Angeles Lakers’ playboy owner who shepherded the NBA franchise to 10 championships from the 1980s’ Showtime dynasty to the Kobe Bryant era, died Monday, his assistant said. Buss died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said Bob Steiner, his assistant. He was 80. He had been hospitalized for cancer, but the immediate cause of death...

Kobe Bryant Nearly Traded To Pistons In 2007

The Pistons' package for Kobe Bryant included a combination of their core players and draft picks, according to sources.

Lakers' owner Jerry Buss dies

In the world of sports, there are two owners synonymous with success.  And both are gone now.  George Steinbrener of the New York Yankees had a win-at-all-costs mentality.  He would spend a ton and ruthlessly cut players.  Jerry Buss was a more civilized version of that, but with just as much success.  Maybe more.Yesterday, Buss died at the age of 80.  He was battling cancer...

Report: Kobe Bryant would support trading Dwight Howard

Another day, another story about the rocky, at best, relationship between Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant. Just to recap, the two have fought on the court, fought off the court, and showed their disdain for one another to their Western Conference All Star teammates. Despite their perceived issues, Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio there isn’t a riff between the two stars. But if Mitch...

Preview: Celtics vs. Lakers

It's anybody's guest why the Lakers (25-29) have yet to find that motivation to go out and lay everything on the floor to help themselves win games. The passing of the legendary Dr. Jerry Buss Monday morning could be that push they need to make a historical run in the remaining 28 games to make the playoffs. Laker fans are optimistic that their team will answer the bell now...
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

WATCH: Andrelton Simmons' bare hand catch and throw

Atlanta Braves SS Andrelton Simmons has quickly rocketed to the top of defensive shortstops in only his second full season in the majors. And it’s not that he specializes in dives or plays to the hole, he does it all. Check out this amazing play from Monday’s afternoon tilt as he uses his bare hand to snag a tricky one-hop off the bat of San Diego Padres speedster Will Venable...
Via Reading Between The Seams
39 minutes ago

Michael Jordan is 'cool' with Lebron wearing 23

Since Lebron James decided to wear the #23 this coming season I know there's only one thing on your mind: Is Michael Jordan cool with that. You passed on attending your best friend's wedding, opted against cashing in a free blimp ride voucher, and refused to respond to the concerned texts, calls and emails from your family because you couldn't possibly continue life before...
Via Celtics Life
1 hour ago

Report: Colts running back Chris Rainey cut after rules violation

Although no details are provided, what we do know is that Indianapolis Colts running back Chris Rainey, thought to have moved up on the depth chart following Vick Ballard's season-ending Achilles tendon injury, has been released following some sort of off-field incident. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Rainey violated team rules and was released today as a result.  The...
Via 60 Max Power O
4 hours ago

Jets’ Calvin Pace: ‘We’re the best’ defense in the NFL

They say confidence is contagious. For the New York Jets, it might be an epidemic. If you haven't kept up with Gang Green, here's a quick refresher: Rex Ryan affirmed he's a great coach; Geno Smith said he expects to be a top-five quarterback; Dee Milliner dubbed himself the league's best cornerback. And that was just in the last week. Not to be outdone, linebacker...
Via Helmet2Helmet
2 hours ago

Yankees fan returns lost Red Sox World Series ring to owner

Some Boston Red Sox fans might actually be convinced that there is such a thing as a good Yankees fan after a supporter of the Bronx Bombers recovered and returned a lost 2013 World Series ring to Lowell Spinners owner Drew Weber. Weber, who was dining at Luke’s Bar and Grill in Manhattan on Thursday night, left his ring in the bathroom of the restaurant where it was recovered...
Via NESN.com
5 hours ago

Report: Rice’s wife pleaded with Goodell for light punishment

Ray Rice has been suspended for the first two games of the regular season for his involvement in a domestic violence incident with his wife Janay Palmer at a casino over the winter. Given that the public was shown a video of Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer out of an elevator and police reportedly had […]
Via Larry Brown Sports
5 hours ago

Report: Love may not choose to opt into contract with Cavs

While many continue to debate the merits of players involved in a deal for Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, the great unknown continues to be how long Love would call Cleveland home. There are rumors that he’s demanding a trade to Cleveland and wants to play alongside LeBron James; Cleveland would be the only place he would commit to in the way of a long-term deal, starting...
Via Waiting For Next Year
5 hours ago

Report: Astros players irked by special treatment of prospect

Top Houston Astros prospect Mark Appel has been fast tracked in the minors since being selected No. 1 overall in the 2013 MLB draft. The 24-year-old righty was just promoted to Double-A Corpus Christi despite putting up a 9.74 ERA in high Single-A ball.  That may or may not be the issue that some current Astros have with the way Houston is treating Appel at this point. The youngster...
Via Sportsnaut
10 hours ago

Joe Torre: I 'feel terrible' for forgetting to thank Steinbrenner

Former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre admitted he screwed up during his 28-minute Hall of Fame induction speech, because he failed to thank former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. “I missed thanking the most obvious guy in the world when you’re talking about the Yankees,” a visibly shaken Torre told the New York Daily News. “I mentioned George, but my plan was to thank...
Via Intrigue Sports
16 hours ago

Jeff Gordon wins record fifth Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captured his record 5th victory at the Brickyard 400 on Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Via Gamedayr
21 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.