Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 at 3:05 pm  |  46 responses

Phil Jackson Can’t Imagine Anyone Else Being a Better Lakers Coach

Back in June, HBO‘s Real Sports interviewed Phil Jackson, and he provided some of the usual juicy quotes we’ve come to expect from the Zen Master. In a follow up chat, HBO caught up with Phil about the controversial hiring of Mike D’Antoni by the Lakers. Jackson says he cannot picture anyone else doing a better coaching job than himself in Los Angeles: “Bryant Gumbel: ‘Back in June we aired a profile of Phil Jackson done by our Andrea Kremer who spent some time in Montana with him. Phil has been in the news of late because he was gonna get, then didn’t get the LA Lakers job. What happened?’ Andrea Kremer: ‘Well, I spoke to him several times after Mike Brown got fired. A firing that he said was surprising and impulsive to him. At midnight on Sunday night he received a call from Mitch Kupchak, saying we’ve hired Mike D’Antoni and we just finished a contract with him 20 minutes ago. So I said, your reaction, when you hung up the phone. He said, ‘I started laughing. In my mind’s eye it never occurred to me that someone else would be a better coach for this team than me.’ Gumbel: ‘Can we allow that Phil Jackson is a big man, physically, and he has an ego that is commensurate with his size?’ Kremer: ‘No doubt, when you have 11 championships rings I think you probably can earn that. I mean you follow what goes on in LA. I mean the clamoring for him was amazing with the fans. There’s no question about that. He said that he felt he could do the job with this team. He maintained to me that he had not talked contract terms with them. The only personnel power that he wanted was what he had when he left the team two years ago. Which was to have input in the decisions. That he was fully prepared to coach 77 games this season. He said that he had not discussed an ownership stake. Who do you believe? But I will tell you that the one thing that in talking to people in LA, is that this was a decision by Dr. Jerry Buss, ultimately.’”

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  • slamfan4life

    well duh…best coach ever

  • SirGrey

    I wouldn’t call this guy the best coach, or my favorite either. But his experience is unmatched. In-game adjustments would be second to none come playoff time. It’s like he’s a player with the impact he’ll make, and he could’ve made Nash fit whatever “triangle” he was going to attempt to run. He knew the roster when he wanted to become coach. D’Antoni’s style you’d notice by just watching the game, but with him a lot of the responsibility will be on the players. If they lose it’ll be his or Pau’s fault, of course. If they win, give the players (Kobe) the credit. But the critics will always say: It took a Dwight and Nash trade for you guys to win.

  • roscoe

    “I laughed” and then he cried.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    And I agree with Jackson

  • Chukaz

    As a laker fan i think i can safely say that we all did.

  • RKJ92

    They wont win the championship man. lol..

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    “Dr. Jerry Buss Ultimately” — you see that Magic?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    “fit whatever triangle he was going to attempt to run” — sincerely, someone who doesn’t have any idea what the triangle even is.
    it doesn’t change, the triangle he would run, is the same triangle he has always run.

  • Redd

    Lakers made a dumb move.

  • SirGrey

    Any offense that was going to be ran is going to hurt someone’s game. And Nash, would be good in any offense. Even the Princeton wouldn’t have been bad after a whole season. Their defense is what sucked. I’m sure Phil knows who Nash is, as well as he knew who Kerr and Fisher were.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it’s not about the player being good in the offense. it’s about the player being great in the offense. you don’t win a championship just by being good. remember that.

  • SirGrey

    You’re right. Then everyone who doesn’t shoot 3′s well in the offense minus Dwight won’t be great as well as everyone on D minus Dwight won’t be great.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    sure if you don’t know anything about D’Antoni’s offense and just believe what you hear talking heads say.


    in actuality, those Phoenix teams were winning 50+ games with Shawn Marion! leading them in FGA’s. The offense just puts guys in better positions than other offenses do. Especially when the PG is a suitable playmaker. The main reason i was not supportive of anyone but D’Antoni is the Lakers very short window to win with Nash. — the triangle takes time, Phil Jackson has always needed more than a season to teach the triangle (technically his first title in LA came in his first try, but if you remember, Kurt Rambis took over midway through the season before and began implementing the structure of Jackson’s system). Nash in that system, with a guy like Kobe leading them in attempts and taking some ball handling responsibilities away from Nash, and Dwight Howard instead of Amar’e for defensive purposes, especially with Pau (who doesn’t look comfortable yet, but will with time) the team has a better chance a title than any team D’Antoni has ever coached, and will presumably catch on and buy into his system rather quickly, enabling them to compete right away, rather than needing an extended adjustment period.

  • SirGrey

    I’m not calling one offense better or worse yet because I haven’t seen them both working with the same players over a long time. Marion was a very versatile and underrated player who could pretty much score from anywhere on the floor, including transition points. I’d take a younger him and a younger Raja over older Kobe and Ron on D. Pau is supposed to be playing Marion’s position. I believe Nash will be better in Mike D’Antoni’s offense, as well as people like Kobe, Artest, Dwight, Jamison. I just doubt their speed, defense and bench. Barbosa was a good asset on those Suns teams who was very good on transition. The Suns lost to good teams. And the Lakers might lose to good ones. They also have older players, a worse training staff, and no bench. But then again, Mike’D was used to an 8-man rotation.

  • SirGrey

    At least with Phil you get another person that isn’t Kobe getting into people’s asses for not performing at their potential.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Naw you don’t understand. The Suns offense, even with Shaq and Amare/Diaw as the bigs, was the best offense in the L. And Marion really was nothing more than an athlete and smart player on offense. I live in Phoenix and had season tickets every year he was here. I don’t think there are many people outside of the NBA who have watched him as much as I have

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    You lost your mind if you think D’Antoni and Nash are easy on people. Lost. Your. Mind.

  • Stephen A. Smith

    Why does this guy ^^^ (nbk) keep praising D’Antoni? Stop defending the guy, D’Antoni is a loser in the NBA hasn’t won anything besides a Coach of the Year award, you’re talking about a coach who is a quitter, he quit some 20 games into the season on the New York Knicks, Phil Jackson has 11 rings it’s a no brain er, a person who’s never played or watched basketball would have picked Phil Jackson. And this guy acts like he knows the triangle inside out smh. Stop acting like you know basketball, nobody likes you on Slam, gtfo.

  • SirGrey

    Although I probably didn’t watch as much as you, I was probably the biggest Suns fan you can find in NY at the time. I know they were the best offense. I know other players/coaches get into people’s asses too. Phil is better with adjustments, experience. I’m not questioning their offense. I doubt their speed, defense and bench. Marion was always top 5 in all around fantasy rating too, and led the league over LeBron once or twice if I’m not mistaken.

  • Junior Taylor

    Hand Pat Riley a brand new Armani suit and I beg to differ.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Awe :( take it up with Dr Jerry Buss, or Dr Phil. You sound frustrated.

  • http://www.facebook.com/evan.boland Evan Boland

    If Phil came back and coached the Clippers I think I would vote for them over the Lakers.

  • Conor

    His offence is truly Tex Winter’s and he took over the Bulls the season after Doug Collins, Jordan, and Pippen had already led them to the shores of victory. Jackson’s quality lies in his exceptional psychology.

    You could argue Popovich or Pat Riley as being the greatest coach with much more substantial evidence than Jackson. He was even outcoached in 2004 and 2008 by Larry Brown and Doc Rivers, respectively.

  • The Fury

    May I ask good sir, are you the commenter known as Jukai??

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    No I’m nbk. I’ve been here for like 5 years.

  • The Fury

    Thanks, just a little curious though. Been here that long also, but 85% of all I tried to post here on Slam doesn’t show up..lol.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    That problem depending on where you were/are should be gone with the Disqus system

  • charlie_scott

    no one runs an original offence these days! you try to sound smart with your stink facts and dumbing down the genius of phil jackson. phil jackson is far greater then all of those coaches you have just named, purely by the rings baby!

  • http://www.facebook.com/shooting.guard.319 Shooting Guard

    well as a non-laker fan i’m glad it didn’t work out because now i know they won’t win a championship

  • http://www.facebook.com/shooting.guard.319 Shooting Guard

    clearly you don’t like the man

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Ask yourself this, whose offense does Chris Duhon, Antawn Jamison and even Jordn Hill fit into better? I can see the inverse argument for Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks but that’s not enough. Phil Jackson has never turned players into things they weren’t already. Except Ron Harper actually, that was a stroke of genius putting him at the point, especially on the defensive end. – anyway the Lakers don’t have that, and Jackson is 67, with the chance at coaching what? 2 years max? If Dr. Jerry Buss made the decision to hire D’Antoni (he did) i think there is pretty good reason to support it. Given his track record.

  • Max

    Yeah, Nobody likes you nbk! :(

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    oh no! i’m not gonna have anyone to hang out with at the prom….

  • da boss

    Your a idiot look whos got more rings. Phil knows how to put this together

  • Max


  • Max


  • Conor

    No, da boss, *you’re an* idiot. He had Jordan, Pippen, Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman, Ron Harper, Steve Kerr, John Paxson, Shaq, Kobe, Horry, Fisher, Pau, Lamar Odom, and Andrew Bynum. “Rings”. Please.

    @facebook-100004321117806:disqus: I’m a Lakers fan and wanted Jackson to be the coach, not D’Antoni. To say he’s the greatest coach of all time is arguable, but like I said, others have better arguments (didn’t even mention Wooden).

    charlie_scott, I acknowledged Jackson’s “exceptional psychology” and am providing some “context” (perspective) for his philosophies & consequent successes.

  • Conor

    I hope you’re watching the Spurs-Heat game tonight.

  • Coachbb

    The Lakers made the right choice about not going with Jackson. He wanted total control and to get rid of Kupcheck just like he got rid of Jerry West after West went and got the players to win Championships. Jackson has NEVER gone to a team with less talent and made them champions. Real hard to coach when you have Jordan, Pipen, Shaq, Kobe

  • manu

    I seldom reply, but I just have to stop this right here. Big time Lakers fan since 97 98 btw.

    Phil MAY have been a better coach and let’s look quickly perhaps why.. Phil used his philosophies to help calm the player’s egos – something this Laker team sure is going to need when they lose games (after Nash is back) – and made the players look at the game slightly differently while respecting the game for what it is. Sounds ridiculous I know but if you read about Phil you’ll see he always emphasized on meditation and other mental methods of approaching the game. It’s these intricacies that make the ultimate difference in winning a 3peat and winning 1 championship, or winning no championships. A lot of coaches have had talented teams (Kings in 01 for instance) but very few coaches can get their team to contend for a championship year in year out. I’m not saying Greg Popovich isn’t a great coach, he sure is that’s why the Spurs have been so solid the past decade. But Phil is great – arguably better – as well.

    I don’t think D’Antoni being our coach means we can’t win. D’Antoni focuses more on offence compared to other aspects of the game, this isn’t a bad thing it’s just the way he coaches. We have an aging roster with the exception of Dwight, and ensuring our pieces fit WELL TOGETHER is the biggest challenge for any coach. Having Kobe & Nash with Pau & Dwight is a pretty deadly “foursome” but the coach has to find a way to maximize ALL their strengths and minimize the weaknesses.

    Defs be an interesting year for the Lakers.

  • Lakerfan

    Lakers better start thinking about what to say to Phil to consider coming back.

  • J Ikerd

    Phil Jackson is the best coach I’ve ever seen , & takes no mess from anybody

  • hookedonnews

    I’m sure he can’t imagine anyone being a better coach. No one has ever accused him of a lack of self-esteem. Ownership did not want to go back to the Triangle. They did not want to waste the talents of Steve Nash. They wanted a faster-paced offense. That is the reason they got D’Antoni. I don’t believe they ever really wanted Jackson and only contacted him because of the fans. Everyone seems to have forgotten Phil Jackson’s last season in LA. It was time to move on. Time will tell whether or not they made the right decision. However, everyone needs to give D’Antoni some time and forget about Jackson. He was a great coach, but at some point you have to find a coach for the future.

  • Paul Robinson

    It is entirely bad, to see a coach of this caliber passed up by basketball itself. Not to mention, the Lakers and their lack of loyalty; they were so ugly showing their lack of class, to a coach they owe so much. He is the best. In the nineties and throughout the y2k’s he dominated every coach being a mental assassin, destroying each coach in his head. While his very presence and demeanor is awe inspiring, his payoff wisdom and experience is second to non; no coach will ever match. In the history of basketball of this level, no team would ever pass on a coach like this. I have yet to mention his Championship ability and professionalism. He is a coach for Champions, I hope this says it all. Buss family you missed a mark, to be the best you must incorporate thee best. I hope our pure talent wins over in the long run.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Ynell427 Leonard L. Yadao

    Yeah, I can’t believe that D’Antoni was picked over the “Zen Master!” With Phil running this team, this roster, the Lakers chances of #17 would be better, but like all Pro coaches of any sport, I respect Mike D’Antoni & who knows, he & the Lakers might just win it all this year…”GO LAKERS!”

  • Ray Mccall

    This is what happens when a “Horse Trainer” is allowed to make basketball decisions simply because he’s the owner’s son. And by the way..Don’t the Lakers already have a GM??