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Phil Jackson says he’s not coaching again; Lakers running wrong offense

Feb 19, 2013, 3:46 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

Phil Jackson is a man with strong convictions.

That comes through in a conversation with Jack McCallum of Sports Illustrated. One where Jackson says most of the league just mimics each other rather than run their own system. That’s why he likes Gregg Popovich and the Spurs, they play their way.

Jackson also reiterated what he had said before — he’s not going to coach again. The Lakers situation at the start of the season was different.

I’m not coaching. I told Mitch [Kupchak, Lakers GM] 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.

Jackson goes on to say he’d consider an NBA job — “Vice president of basketball operations/director of player personnel” — but he’s not going back to the sidelines and he’s not just taking a GM job.

And of course, the conversation moved around to the dysfunction of the Lakers and how they use Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol.

Jackson: 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 [Howard] just doesn’t get any touches. They’ve basically eliminated his assets.

SI: But wouldn’t his assets be rolling off the screen-roll, with either [Steve] Nash or Kobe?

Jackson: 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.

Just some numbers from Synergy Sports. Howard has had 372 post touches this season, which accounts for 45.3 percent of his shots. On those, he is shooting 45.4 percent, or 0.75 points per possession. He has gotten the ball back as the roll man in a pick-and-roll 94 times and is shooting 75.9 percent, scoring 1.22 points per possession.

And the current Lakers don’t have the Horry’s, Fishers, shooters like that.

To give you some context, two seasons ago (2010-11, before the Orlando leaving mess) Howard got 59 percent of his offense in the post, shot 50.6 percent and 0.93 points per possession. So, he’s more efficient in the post when healthy. That season he got 6.8 percent of his offense as the roll man but shot 81.7 percent and scored 1.43 points per possession.

All of which is to say, Howard and the Mike D’Antoni offense can find a compromise and a middle ground that works for them, they just both have to give a little more. And get healthy. And act like adults.

The real problem for the Lakers is what they are going through now are training camp problems, but Howard wasn’t healthy for camp and they had a different coach with a radically different system then. They need time they didn’t have.

  1. spthegr8 - Feb 19, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    You don’t have to be PJ, too see the Lakers are running the WRONG offense!!! Just Saying!!!

  2. aboogy123456 - Feb 19, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    I agree with what Phil is saying but Dwight Howard is a bad example. The difference between him and shaq is that Dwight doesn’t command a double team. I always thought that the offense should run through pau. He commands a double team in the post and he does a great job passing the ball and finding guys like Dwight on the inside and the shooters on the outside. It also takes pressure off kobe and the good thing about kobe is that he finds a way to be involved and make an impact even if the offense doesn’t run through him.

    • mytthor - Feb 19, 2013 at 7:41 PM

      Dwight absolutely commands a double team when healthy. The Magic made the finals basically built around him commanding a double team and kicking it out to shooters, and he’s a better post player now.

  3. doctorfootball - Feb 19, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Sadly, for Lakers fans, everyone knows this but D’antoni

    • loungefly74 - Feb 19, 2013 at 8:48 PM


      yes…injuries, cohesion, age, etc…all play a factor….but D’Antoni just appears to have no control, more importantly, influence on this team.

      (time to daydream again that PJ was coaching)

  4. cantonbound13 - Feb 19, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    What about the amazing D, D’Antoni is teaching?

    • doctorfootball - Feb 19, 2013 at 7:51 PM

      To D’antoni, defense is that boring thing you do until you launch your next 3.

  5. progress2011 - Feb 19, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    No need to coach anymore ….He’s about to be married to the part owner of the Billion dollar franchise.

    I AIN’T WORKIN …..NO MO !!!!!


    • aboogy123456 - Feb 19, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      as if he needed the money…

      • progress2011 - Feb 19, 2013 at 4:57 PM

        Who knows if he needed it….maybe you know…did you do his taxes last year.

        Because a person is not in the news going bankrupt, doesn’t mean they can’t use an extra BILLION to cushion their wallets.

        BILLION …spelled with a B !

  6. aboogy123456 - Feb 19, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    I know it’s easy to pick on D’antoni but I think he’s taking a lot of unnecessary heat from the fans. Last year I was yelling at my TV every game because the offense showed no fluidity, it was basically give the ball to kobe and everyone else watch. They haven’t had a training camp or really any time to gel and the offense already looks better than last year. I think the defense has been all about effort. We’ve seen the lakers play some amazing defensive games, like against the thunder for example, so we know that they have potential. The issue is that they haven’t been able to keep it up for more than a couple games in a row. There are plenty of reasons to blame for this season, but I think D’Antoni is farther down the list.

    • cosanostra71 - Feb 19, 2013 at 5:27 PM

      “The issue is that they haven’t been able to keep it up for more than a couple games in a row.”

      This, like defensive effort, is a matter of motivation. That comes from the coach.

      • aboogy123456 - Feb 19, 2013 at 5:44 PM

        I agree, D Antoni is a good coach if the guys are motivated to play, but where he’s weak is in the psychological department and getting guys motivated. That’s one place phil was so great.

        I think what I really meant by motivation is Dwight Howard’s motivation. He’s had some great defensive games this year, and it sets the tone for the team. But there are so many other nights where he’s clearly not trying and it’s those games that the defense as a whole does not play well.

  7. aboogy123456 - Feb 19, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    I agree with what Phil is saying but Dwight Howard is a bad example. The difference between him and shaq is that Dwight doesn’t command a double team.

  8. aboogy123456 - Feb 19, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    I always thought that the offense should run through pau. He commands a double team in the post and he does a great job passing the ball and finding guys like Dwight on the inside and the shooters on the outside. It also takes pressure off kobe and the good thing about kobe is that he finds a way to be involved and make an impact even if the offense doesn’t run through him.

  9. stayhigh_247 - Feb 19, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    @ aboogy
    As far as throwing Damphony under the bus, look at it like this. If Doc Rivers, Tom Thibideau, or Pops were coaching the Lakers they would definitely be a playoff bound team, probably favored to make the finals if not win it all. Yeah they didnt have an offseason together but, a good coach gets W’s even under adversity! Give any credible coach this roster and they will get the best out of the personnel they have. How can Chicago be poised to move up in the playoffs with no D Rose? Because they have a coach that can coach!

    • aboogy123456 - Feb 19, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      I agree with your notion that those coaches would be ten times better than D’Antoni. But Phil aside, were there any Doc Rivers, Pops, or Thibs out there? I don’t think so. There are only a few amazing coaches like the guys you mentioned and that’s very hard to find. I personally wanted the lakers to get brian shaw and run the triangle but D’Antoni is still fine, you can’t fault him for not being an all time great.

  10. dt58 - Feb 19, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    “This, like defensive effort, comes from motivation. That comes from the coach”

    Couldn’t agree more. Some nights your shooting might be off but defence is about hard work, hustle and desire…no excuse for having “off nights”

    • progress2011 - Feb 19, 2013 at 6:43 PM

      How bout

      1. Major Back Surgery – most civilians would be nursing for 24-48 months

      2. Torn Labrum/ rotator cuff – most civilians would be very limited without surgery
      An aching sensation in the shoulder joint
      Catching of the shoulder with movement
      Pain with specific activities

      Combine that with competing against other very large athletes that are at the top of the sport.

      Some of you dudes have ZERO ability to reason with FACTS! It’s comical and sad at the same time.

      • badintent - Feb 19, 2013 at 8:51 PM

        Is aboogy123456 bozoforall ? Bozo has disappeared ……………….forever it seems.

  11. kw27p - Feb 19, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    Yet another what’s wrong with the lakers story. Yawn

  12. pellypell - Feb 19, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    Phil is the EF Hutton of the NBA.

    For those of you not old enough to remember:

    • davidly - Feb 20, 2013 at 5:28 AM

      Not even close. He may get the NBA press to listen, but no team has ever come close to offering him what he so explicitly desired: front office b-ball decision-making authority. He wanted it in Chicago during and after 6 titles, they showed him the door. He wanted it in LA, during and after three titles. They showed him the door. He wanted it, again, in LA, upon taking the coaching spot and winning them two more titles, they showed him the door. He was willing to part-time coach and groom a successor for an opportunity to get the promotion, no dice.

      He may command respect from those of us who love the game and what he has accomplished, but the league ain’t listening.

  13. abchome - Feb 19, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    “If we’re not averaging 110 or 115 points per game, then we need to talk,” – D’Antoni.

  14. fiyeaglesfiy - Feb 19, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    To everybody that makes the argument that Phil Jackson is not the greatest coach of all time and that he just happened to have great teams with Jordan/Pippen and Shaq/Kobe, I hope watching D’Antoni coach this stacked Laker team shows how valuable coaching really is. Motivating your players, executing your system, adjusting your system, creating mismatches, controlling the momentum of the game, managing players minutes. All things that D’Antoni does poorly that PJ did great. Yes, you need talent, but this season shows, anybody can’t just coach. How many championships do the bulls win with D’Antoni coaching instead of Jackson?

    • money2long - Feb 19, 2013 at 8:40 PM

      i’ll go one step further…

      in poker, everyone can have the same cards. what makes one poker player different from the next is HOW you choose to use those cards, your approach and decisions with it. it’s easy to say phil won cause he had star power, but not everyone with star power gets the job done or knows how to orchestrate and find a winning formula. phil had the mind and aptitude to execute winning championships with the cards he was dealt.

      • jimeejohnson - Feb 19, 2013 at 9:22 PM

        Sometimes, the cards ain’t worth a dime, if you don’t lay em down.

    • 00maltliquor - Feb 19, 2013 at 9:40 PM

      Nice one!

    • pcsurfer - Feb 20, 2013 at 2:38 AM

      People always forget that when Phil came back in 2005 to coach the Lakers, they weren’t even considered a playoff team (they were actually a laughing stock) and everyone thought that he was just going to ruin his legacy. He accepted the challenge of a 34-48 team and within a few years, the Lakers were back in the Finals. I think this last stint with the Lakers cemented his position as the greatest coach ever, even though he had prime Kobe.

    • davidly - Feb 20, 2013 at 5:45 AM

      “Greatest” is a relative term. It nevertheless applies to Jackson by the mere virtue of his having won so many games and titles.

      As far as being the best coach of all time, there are different kinds of best coaches. PJ was clearly suited to getting multiple hall-of-fame-caliber players to work together within an extended role-player function to astoundingly successful results.

      Popovich is clearly the best at putting a team together that works as a team.

      Larry Brown is clearly the best at getting a team without stars–who wouldn’t make the playoffs with anyone else–to play tenacious enough team defense to be a perennial contender.

      Back to “who should be coaching these Lakers”: as I and many on this board said in the pre-season, the two big assets they acquired which led loads of people to name them instant title contenders were seriously questionable health coming into the season. They could not be relied upon. End of story.

      There isn’t a coach on God’s Golden Court who could have managed much better with this group of players, particularly when you consider how many games that prospective starting five have actually played together.

  15. jerdogthompson - Feb 19, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    As if the passing of the legendary buss were not enough. Now Zen Master refuses to ever coach. As a Clipper fan I feel bad for the Lakers. That’s saying a lot.

  16. omniusprime - Feb 19, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    Phil Jackson knows a thing or three about running an effective offense. A real shame that no one in the NBA wants to run the vaunted Triangle Offense, then again it’s a thinking man’s offense and there are so few men who can think in the NBA. Kobe is one of the only players capable of thinking out the Triangle and Popovich is probably the only coach who could think it through. Queen James is way too ignorant to ever be able to use the Triangle. Dumbtoni is way too stupid to ever be able to coach the Triangle.

    The Lakers need a real coach, not that worthless garbage they picked up. Sad that Phil would have come back had that little idiot buss boy not been so arrogant, ignorant and impatient to blow him off and rush a decision to hire the worst possible coach for the Laker personnel.

    The best thing that could happen to the Lakers is to lose every game until Kupcake and that little idiot buss boy are forced to fire Dumbtoni. That’s why as a Laker fan I’m rooting every game now for the Lakers to lose.

    Rest in Peace Dr. Jerry Buss, the Greatest sports owner of all time!!! Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Trash nash and Steve Flake!!!

  17. lawest111 - Feb 19, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    IMO, Dwight’s problem is that he hasn’t developed an offensive game. Really good players come into the league and produce, oftentimes, on athleticism, then the really good ones develop a game and as their athleticism declines their game has developed and there is little if any decline in their production. Dwight’s athleticism has declined some, he must develop a game.

  18. savvybynature - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:32 AM

    “And the current Lakers don’t have the Horry’s, Fishers, shooters like that.”

    No but Nash and Earl Clark could probably do a very convincing Fisher and Horry impersonation, and Kobe isn’t a bad shooter either.

    D12 and Pau could definitely draw help defenders into the paint if they learned to play together in the half court. Oh wait, Phil was right, wrong offense.

  19. reastnt - Feb 20, 2013 at 1:49 AM

    If you look at the data, the Lakers are near the top in offense and near the bottom in defense. Their problem is not “running the wrong offense” – it’s their defensive effort.

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