Tag: Phil Jackson

Jerry West

Jerry West talks about his relationship with Phil Jackson… there wasn’t one


Last year, Roland Lazenby’s fascinating biography of Jerry West — detailing his childhood in West Virginia and how that shaped a man driven by a fear of failure. A man who felt relief more than anything when he finally won an NBA title as a player. A fear that drove him as an executive with the Lakers that built the Showtime Lakers and later the Shaquille O’Neal/Kobe Bryant era.

Now West is writing his own autobiography (due out in a couple months) and Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News got an advanced look (via Eye On Basketball). He says the book is very West — unflinchingly honest. And very interesting.

West is an iconic Laker, but when Phil Jackson came in to the franchise (the first time) he changed the dynamics of power structure and with that pushed West out. Almost literally at one point — Jackson famously threw West out of the Lakers locker room after a game. Phil needed power, West had it and that was the seeds of the issue. West talked about that relationship — to say that there wasn’t one.

“So one of the problems I had with Phil was this,” West writes. “His office was right near mine and when he would arrive in the morning, he would walk right past and never even bother to wave or duck his head in to say hello.

“He would later say that he felt the need to stake out his territory, that on top of that he was ’a wack job,’ but I am sure it was more than that…

“Phil and I had no relationship,” West writes. “None. He didn’t want me around and had absolutely no respect for me–of that, I have no doubt.”

Go read Lazenby’s book. You can bet when West’s comes out we’ll be reading it, too.

Phil Jackson is retired, still picking up endorsement deals

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers - Game One

Phil Jackson is no longer an NBA coach. He also remains the most recognizable and marketable coach out there.

So he is still picking up endorsement deals and doing commercials, like the one below for Audi. Which is a pretty clever little ad.

Note to Vinny Del Negro, if you want a few of these commercials you just need to win a handful of rings. Or two.

What the Lakers should do when the lockout ends

Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks

Welcome to the first installment of a fun lockout series here at PBT… okay, there nothing is fun about the lockout. It blows. But whenever it ends teams are going to have to scramble to fill holes and make moves. What follows is a discussion of what the Los Angeles Lakers need to do to when the lockout ends. Tomorrow we will feature the Dallas Mavericks, and from there we will work our way through all 30 teams. Enjoy.

Last season in Los Angeles: The Lakers came in as the two-time defending champions and won an impressive 57 games, but there was no aura of invincibility around this team. They had losing streaks and as the season wore on the team looked mentally and physically tired. That culminated in the second round of the playoffs, when a Mavericks team hitting their stride swept the Lakers. Los Angeles seemed unwilling and unable to step up their game and make adjustments.

Since we last saw the Lakers: Phil Jackson walked away, all the way from Los Angeles to Montana, where he is sitting on the porch on his ranch and not thinking giving a fleeting thought to hoops. Former Cavs head man Mike Brown was brought in as coach. The players wanted Brian Shaw, but Jim Buss (the guy calling the shots in L.A. now) wanted to sweep all things Jackson out of the organization. The result is a new offensive philosophy and talk of new defensive commitment.

In terms of players, there has been very little change. The core of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and dancing Ron Artest (soon to be Metta World Peace) all are still under contract.

When the lockout ends, the Lakers need to… get a new point guard and get behind Mike Brown.

Brown has sounded like a guy who has got the right idea — if the Lakers are going to win another title it will be because they use more Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, allowing Kobe Bryant to pick his spots. He cannot carry a team to a title now. Brown has talked about using parts of the Spurs offense from their twin-towers era of Tim Duncan and David Robinson). It’s a smart move.

But Derek Fisher and Steve Blake — the two point guards on the Lakers roster — are not going to be able to run that show. Not well enough. Which means the Lakers need a new point guard. The free agent market is not loaded with good players (unless you think T.J. Ford is a good player, and if you do we need to talk).

The Lakers may have to trade for a point guard (hard to say right now who becomes available once teams see the new labor deal).

There is not a lot of trade bait on the Lakers roster. Some Lakers fans want Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol moved, but neither of those guys is going anywhere unless a Dwight Howard-level player is coming back. Nor should they be — you win by going big, not point guards. The more likely move is something like Lamar Odom for a reasonable point guard and a backup big. But even that will not be easy to pull off for GM Mitch Kupchak.

Even if the Lakers do not make a move before the season, the bigger issue is buying in and being committed to what Brown wants to install. The Lakers don’t have a year to blow protesting a coach, their championship window is open but not much longer.

Darius, the guy behind the Lakers blog Forum Blue & Gold, told us exactly that in an email.

The Lakers need to get into the gym to work on the X’s and O’s that new coach Mike Brown is implementing in order to be as comfortable as possible with the new schemes when the games start. The Lakers may be a veteran team that is viewed as easily adaptable, but they’re also abandoning a long established system in a (potentially) shortened off-season. That change brings a loss of comfort and any lack of commitment from the players can sink the season before it even starts. They’ll need to learn what the new coach wants, conform to the new approach, and execute at a high level right out of the gate. There will be little time for floundering; not when the reigning champ resides in their conference and teams like the Thunder, Grizzlies, Spurs, and Blazers look to build on their own foundations for success.

Kobe may have wanted Shaw as a coach, but he wants a ring more. And the only way he gets another one is to be fully on board with Brown and bring the team with him. If that happens, and the Lakers get better play at the point, they are title contenders.

Turkish head coach sticks up for Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter
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Yesterday we brought you word how a highly-respected, old school Turkish national team assistant coach ripped Enes Kanter as not ready for the NBA. Which would be pretty bad news for the Utah Jazz as they drafted him No. 3 overall back in June.

Today came the rebuttal, with the honors going to Turkey’s first year head coach Orhun Ene.

He put this on the Turkish Federation Web site, the translation is via Hoopshype.

“As the head coach of Turkish National Team I’m not the only one who’s happy about the performance of Enes Kanter’s in the national team. All my assistants, all of the executives, to sum it all everybody is happy with Enes and every one of us strongly believe that he will be very successful both in the NBA and Turkish National Team” said Ene.

“Although he didn’t play for nearly one and a half year he quickly adapted to our team and established a position where he can show his basketball skills. Though he is very young what he can do on the basketball court is unbelievable. I believe that he’ll even be better before Eurobasket 11 in Lithuania starts which is a great news for us.”

I’m not going to pretend to know the dynamics of the Turkish national team coaching staff. But I will add this reminds me a little of how Tex Winter and Phil Jackson used to work — Winter was Jackson’s conscious. Winter could say things publically about Shaquille O’Neal or Kobe Bryant that Jackson could not because Jackson needed to preserve a relationship for motivational reasons. If Tex said Kobe was shooting too much, Jackson could smooth it over and still make sure the message was heard.

Not sure if that is the dynamic here, that’s just what it reminds me of. Jazz fans, go ahead and thing the head coach is spot on if you want.

Should Jerry Krause be in the Hall of Fame?

Jerry Krause

We’d be willing to bet that Phil Jackson will not be the presenter, but the question is should it happen at all:

Should Jerry Krause be the next Chicago Bull in the basketball Hall of Fame?

The question came up as Dennis Rodman was enshrined in the hall this past weekend — Krause inherited Michael Jordan but drafted Scottie Pippin, brought in guys like Rodman and Toni Kukoc, put Tex Winter and Jackson together, and generally assembled the roster that won six titles and owned a decade.

Aggry Sam has Krause on his list of the next 10 NBA people who should be in the hall over at CSNChicago.com.

While his efforts have been underappreciated over the years due to feuds with Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson, Krause’s keen eye for talent and sharpness in making transactions, such as his draft-day trade to acquire Scottie Pippen, were a cornerstone of the Bulls’ dynasty.

To me, Don Nelson and Spencer Haywood top the list for the next class, but if you’re really going to keep honoring the Bulls dynasty era, you need to honor Krause. Jordan and Jackson may not like it, but Krause is a deserving part of that franchise who should be honored.