Phil Jackson talks Lakers, Dwight Howard and Homeland
In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Phil Jackson opened up about everything from the game of basketball, his favorite tv shows, his future, and the current state of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Hoopsvibe’s quick call: When the Zenmaster speaks, people listen.
Jackson has been relatively quiet with the media since Jim Buss and the organization made the decision to pass on him and hire Mike D’Antoni as their new head coach. But he had a lot to say to SI’s Jack McCallum earlier this week, including; addressing what the Lakers have been doing wrong with superstar big man Dwight Howard.
“They don’t put the ball in the post,” Jackson said. “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.”
But as much as Jackson admitted that the Lakers have been under-utilizing Howard, he also mentioned that Dwight hasn’t fully recovered from his back injury and needs to improve in certain areas on his own.
“He is not where he needs to be physically because of the back surgery,” the Zenmaster said of Howard. “He needs a year to recover from something like that … He’s a terrific athlete … 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.”
I’m sure Mike D’Antoni shook his head a little bit reading those words.
Jackson, who has 11 championship rings as a coach and two as a player, wasn’t just critical of the purple and gold in the interview. When asked whether the Lakers have been improving, Jackson sounded hopeful saying, “Yes, I think they are finding a way to play. And that’s nice to see.”
McCallum’s interview with Jackson was very well done as he asked the Hall of Famer a lot of things many of us have been waiting to hear. Jackson told SI that he enjoys watching sports on TV, even rugby (which he watched last weekend), and that Homeland is something he watches with fiance Jeannie Buss, daughter of the late Lakers owner Jim Buss, who passed away on Monday. (Due to the fact that the interview was conducted before Buss’ death, McCallum and Jackson didn’t speak about the legendary owner.)
As far as returning to the game of basketball, which is a question on many of our minds, Jackson said “I’m not coaching” but did say that he was open to a different role, such as Vice President of basketball operations.
When McCallum commented that Vice President “doesn’t sound like a boss” Phil replied, … “No, that guy would be the boss.”
But what did Jackson say he misses the most about coaching? It’s what he calls, in true Zenmaster form, the “spiritual quest.”
“Forming a brotherhood and trying to move it forward. That’s the part I miss.”