Now it is time once again for one of Phil Jackson’s favorite mind games: subtle — and not so subtle – messages to players through the media. What would we do all day if it weren’t for them?
Today it is Kobe’s turn to be sent a message. Which is rare because Kobe ignore such messages. Because he is Kobe Bryant. Without further ado, we give you Phil Jackson’s quote from NBA.com (via the Orange County Register).
“(Artest is) probably a little better at (the triangle offense) than Kobe is, because Kobe ignores the offense.”
Of course, the subtext of this is Artest saying a few months back that the triangle offense still confuses him. It’s all a clever little game Jackson likes to play. Kobe doesn’t care. At all.
Kobe has been breaking out of the offense whenever he thinks the team needs a push since the week after he was drafted. Probably sooner. Kobe understands the offense, he knows how to run it and how to be successful in it probably as well as anyone not named Tex. But when Kobe feels his team needs a pick up he’s not throwing the ball to Pau Gasol in the high post. Kobe will just take over for a minute.
Like at the end of games. Kobe is going to do his thing regardless of what Jackson says. The result is a lot of games like the win over the Thunder Sunday where Kobe does a lot of scoring late but the offense is ignored and the Lakers become inefficient. Still the Lakers still win a lot of the time. So you’re going to see it more. You will see it during the playoffs.
Kobe will be Kobe. And Phil Jackson will be Phil Jackson. And they will politely ignore each other on this issue.