Phil Jackson Says the Lakers are Misusing Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol

by February 19, 2013

In a fun Q&A with SI, during which Phil Jackson promotes his upcoming book “Eleven Rings”, the Zen Master also opens up about the Los Angeles Lakers (Phil thinks head coach Mike D’Antoni is misusing Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol), his views on the NBA today (it could be improved with a longer shot clock, according to Jackson), and what the future holds (most likely, a high ranking front-office gig somewhere): “Do you watch a lot of games? Do you have the NBA package? Phil Jackson: ‘I just got it last week at Jeannie’s insistence. She didn’t want people thinking that her boyfriend is so poor he can’t get all the NBA channels.’ Do you take notes in case, you know, future jobs arise? Jackson: ‘I sometimes take notes. I have some people who have come to me and ask, “Would you watch my team, see if you can pick anything up?” Four or five teams, plus the Lakers. [He wouldn’t identify the other teams.] So while I’m not officially in the consulting business, it might come in handy sometime.’ […] How does the game look to you? Similar from team to team? Jackson: ‘Yes. Basketball is a simple game. Your goal is penetration, get the ball close to the basket, and there are three ways to do that. Pass, dribble and offensive rebound. The easiest one is — or should be — the pass. But the new rules allow you to throw more people at post-up players. NBA basketball is a big man’s game, and in the past they protected that aspect of the game. Well, those rules went out the window and what they didn’t do was consider this: If they’re going to continue to allow zone defenses to work and shut down the paint, then they have to put six more seconds on the shot clock. A 30-second clock. But they’re so attached to the idea of the 24-second clock that it doesn’t happen.’ […] When you look at the Lakers now, considering that they’ve had a lot of personnel changes and injuries, what do you see? Jackson: ‘They just don’t put the ball in the post. 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 [Howard] just doesn’t get any touches. They’ve basically eliminated his assets.’ […] How about when Pau Gasol comes back? There seemed to be some problems when they were out there together. Jackson: ‘Well, what is the problem? We won two championships that way [with two big men]. Pau is one of the best big men in the game. I mean, Pau Gasol is going to be in the Hall of Fame.'”