Phil Jackson Thinks Andrew Bynum’s Increased Role Ruined the Lakers

Phil Jackson may be out of the public eye for the most part these days, but put him in front of a microphone, and the Zen Master still knows how to generate headlines better than most. As part of the well-publicized interview set to air on HBO tonight, Jackson — in addition to calling the New York Knicks a “clumsy” team — claims that Andrew Bynum’s ever-growing role within the Los Angeles Lakers’ offense (spear-headed by Jim Buss’ ever-growing influence within the organization) led to their doom this season. Per Deadspin: “But to hear Phil Jackson tell it today, he left because of some pretty serious philosophical differences with Jim Buss, the Lakers’ personnel guru. In his first lengthy interview since packing up for Big Sky Country, Jackson tells Real Sports that he and Buss had very different ideas on how to best utilize Andrew Bynum: ‘Jim saw Andrew as a kid and thought Bynum was going to be a great pick for our team. But in the process he’s wanted to have Andrew to have a bigger and bigger role, and I think he’s hired his coach to have Andrew have a bigger and bigger role. And that kind of disjointed the symmetry of what the Lakers were really about. Andrew is an All-Star Center, he did a wonderful job. But what happened was it took Pau out of his game and it took the team away from some of their game. They changed the style dramatically.’ […] Regardless of moves made and not made, this isn’t Phil Jackson’s team anymore, and it was slipping away from him for a few years, in part due to Jim Buss’s emphasis on a new way to evaluate. ‘He’s got some ideas about how the game should progress, how talent should be picked up.’ Interviewer: ‘Are they the right ideas?’ “They’re his. He’s a guy that believes a lot in statistics and in numbers and in stuff like that. I’m a guy that believes in what the product is and I see and can touch, and feel, and watch run up and down the court.’”