Archive for the 'Phil Jackson' Category

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Phil’s Back

blog_100701philjacksonThe numbers are staggering:

- 11 championships as a coach (best all time) and two as a player
- 1,098 wins to 460 losses for a winning percentage of .705 (best ever)
- 225 playoff wins to 98 losses for a winning percentage of .697 (best ever)
- 50-plus wins in all but three of his 19 seasons
- NBA record 72 regular season wins in 1995-96

Phil Jackson’s accomplishments more than speak for themselves; but if you ask his players, its his mind and teaching style that have already had a lasting impact.

“Our personality of our team is made up of his thought process, his philosophies,” said Kobe Bryant, who has won five titles with the Zen Master, in his postseason exit interview. “I don’t even want to think about (Jackson retiring) right now. (It’s killing my buzz.)”

But Kobe, his teammates and Lakers fans don’t have to worry any longer, as the team announced on Thursday afternoon that Phil will be back in his big chair for a run at his fourth three-peat.

“Count me in,” said Jackson. “After a couple weeks of deliberation, it is time to get back to the challenge of putting together a team that can defend its title in the 2010-11 season. It’ll be the last stand for me, and I hope a grand one.”

Bryant, perhaps more than anyone, recognizes Jackson’s value.

“He has a great knack for bringing guys together,” explained No. 24. “He’s not a rah-rah coach. I think they lose attention because they’re always trying to pump guys up. He focuses on execution, the triangle offense, and a consistent message every single day.”

Derek Fisher gets it, too.

“I think his overall lessons and teachings on staying in the moment and always staying strong, (keeping) your composure and not allowing yourself to get too worked up over things,” he said back in May. “I think that demeanor allows us to find our way sometimes when we’re not on the right course, because of his example.”

“The thing that separates Phil is that he teaches his teams how to problem solve,” added Bryant. “That’s the big thing, so we can make adjustments on the fly ourselves. As a result, you see him sitting back and we’re doing most of the talking, that’s because he’s taught us to be able to figure things out on our own.”

That’s certainly what the Lakers managed to do in defending the title they garnered in 2009 with a tough 2010 playoff season, after which Jackson had hinted that he was “leaning towards retiring.”

No need for those sentiments now, though.

Phil’s back.

Phil Jackson “Leaning Towards Retiring”

philNearly a week after Phil Jackson won his record 11th NBA coaching championship, he revealed that Game 7 against Boston may have been his last as coach of the Lakers.

“I’m leaning towards retiring but I haven’t made up my mind yet,” he said.

In his season-ending interview with the press after completing all but one of the organization’s exit interviews with players, Jackson said that he’d make a final decision by the end of next week.

Here’s a summary of his comments:

- (On reasons to retire): “Some of it is about health. That’s just the way I’m feeling right now. It’s just something I’m going to sit with.”

- (On the team being set up to win again): “This team is in a good place to (win again). If I’m not here, someone else is going to come in and do the job.”

- (On the meetings with his players): “It’s always fun to have an exit meeting when you’re the final team standing. Those meetings went great. I’m very grateful to these players. They put a lot of energy in. The fans gave them a great feeling and a wonderful parade.”

- Jackson said part of the decision is about what he wants to do and how he wants to live the remaining years of his life, and some of that has to do with the physical toll an NBA season takes on his body.

- (On if he’d coach anywhere else): “I’m not going to rule that out … I can’t say I’d never coach again.”

- (On what he’d do if not coaching): “I don’t know. Write a book, go on a grand lecture tour, those are things people tell me I should think about doing. Of course it’s something I’d consider. But I think I have some things to lend to this game without doing the extensive travel and things I have to do to coach … I’ll wait and see what those opportunities would be.”

- (On if it’s harder to leave a team in place to win again): “I think it’s actually easier to leave (a team that’s in tact). I’d be happy if they could go on and win without me. I think they have enough leadership on the floor and in the coaching staff.”

- Jackson mentioned throughout the season that one thing that would likely encourage him to retire would be if his players were no longer receiving his message. His comments on the topic: “To be a coach you have to be very strong willed … (because the players by nature are very strong willed, that’s how they got there). It’s always constantly working with them where they’re not only in line but also pulling together. It’s one of the things that makes coaching a great thing to do. It gives you a lot of satisfaction. This group … there were guys that were contentious. To get them in line and stay in line, the leadership of Kobe and Derek helped out a lot and my staff was very good. We have six or seven guys that were out there without contracts looking for extended carers in the NBA and sometimes that breaks through the team spirit, but fortunately enough, we were able to keep that going in the right direction.”

- Jackson said he has to sit on it and do what’s best for himself. He’s not sure if he’s 95 percent certain or 50 percent certain that he will officially retire. It’s just how he feels today.

- (Not about $$): “It’s certainly not about money. They do a tremendous job, the staff and support staff that we have.”

- Phil mentioned how much greater a toll going on long playoff runs can take on teams and a coach. One of the things that has helped him bridge the gap between seasons is his lake home in Montana. He noted that other coaches have other ways to get away, such as Boston’s Doc Rivers playing golf.

- If Phil does retire, he said it’s the organization’s decision regarding how to replace him, though he would offer his opinion.

- Phil said that his kids have been hoping he’d retire for the last couple of seasons. He added that it’d be tough to walk away from another three-peat, which remains as the “fly in the ointment” for him to retire.

- Jackson concluded by saying that he’s essentially on a course to retirement, but if something changes his mind in the next week, he’ll be happy to return.

Phil Jackson – Friday Presser Transcript

60708045The Lakers did not practice on Friday as a team, though Phil Jackson explained that the players who didn’t play major minutes will do some playing as well as lifting weights and the like. Those that played big minutes, particularly Kobe Bryant (43) and Pau Gasol (44) have the day off.

Here is the full transcript of Jackson’s comments, including a non-update on Andrew Bynum:

Q. What is the condition of Andrew today? And what do you expect from him from Game 5 on Sunday?
PHIL JACKSON: I haven’t got any expectations. I don’t know what his condition is today. He was going to see the doctor later this morning, but in the transition I didn’t get another check with him.

Q. Are you surprised that the fluid has come back?
PHIL JACKSON: No, not surprised at all. It’s come back every game.

Q. What can you do to get Lamar jump started seeing as how he’s going to be playing a lot more time in the series it looks like?
PHIL JACKSON: I was thinking of an electrode, you know. (Laughter). Something that would really be a stimulus. What do you suggest?

Q. That’s a good start.
PHIL JACKSON: No, we’re just trying to find a comfort spot for him out there. He looked uncomfortable last night, and he got a couple double whammies go against him; Garnett out there for a while and then he had Davis coming at him, and things kind of snowballed on him.

Q. When Andrew has gone out and Lamar has come in, it seems like Lamar is playing on top, and you lose your inside game. Is that by design? Is he supposed to start on top and wind up someplace else, or is he supposed to get the ball around the basket ever?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, we’re trying to get him through the offense and into various spots. But he still has a guard role out there. So his responsibility is to actually bring the ball up and initiate the offense. That gives us kind of an unusual attack and gets Kobe at the wing, and it’s something that obviously Boston is quite prepared to try and stop. And the quickness of Davis, who’s a rather unusual player in the NBA with his size, still his quickness is I think affecting Lamar.

Q. Would it be good if Lamar could wind up closer to the basket more often?
PHIL JACKSON: You know, he had a couple post‑up opportunities that he chose to step out and take the ball outside rather than post it, so you know, there was something that I thought ‑‑ that’s what I referred to as probably wasn’t quite comfortable in those positions at that time.

60707828Q. The way that Lamar came up 19 and 19 in the Phoenix series, a couple big games, do you have the confidence he is going to come out with one of those big performances in these last best of three?
PHIL JACKSON: Both he and Ron, I think, have the ability to rebound and come back. Both of them are capable of playing big in games that are like this. We have confidence, and I have confidence that Ron is going to have a game and be ready for a ballgame. He’s had a really tough shooting situation in this series and he hasn’t done well, and defensively he’s been fine, but offensively it hasn’t been quite the same. So he has, you know, a game to get to and to play. Lamar struggled two years ago in this series in this match‑up, and he has to break through kind of that mental gap that he had from that experience to move forward.

Q. With Andrew, to what extent are you making the call on this? Obviously you would think if he goes and warms up on Sunday a young player in the NBA Finals would say, I want to play. I want to try it. Do you have to at some point say it’s just not working for our team?
PHIL JACKSON: If he can’t get back in defense transition‑wise, and that’s one of the things they’re trying to attack with our first unit obviously when Andrew is out there is try and run, then obviously he’s going to hurt the team. But even with him dragging the leg around a little bit, he still helped us in situations last night getting rebounds, that I thought a lot of our other guys ‑‑ got the ball knocked out of their hands, fumbled the ball, went out of bounds off of them. Andrew still has the length and the strength to capture rebounds that we need. So we’ll use him if he’s available and able, but we’re certainly not going to put him in a situation that’s either going to hurt himself or the team.

Q. Some of the players last night mentioned that there was a lack of ball movement. What would you point your finger to as to why there was that lack of ball movement later on in the game?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, you know, the Celtics’ defense, a touted defense, likes to get up into players and make them put the ball on the floor. I mean, that’s part of their game plan is to make a guy uncomfortable enough to have to drive and then put him under duress on a drive. So our situation is obviously to be able to use that to our advantage, and that’s the skill and the aspect that some of our players still haven’t developed yet. Our starters are pretty good at it, some of our bench players haven’t developed the skill yet to kind of handle that and succeed and actually use it against the Celtics.

Q. What will you guys do, if anything, as a team today?
PHIL JACKSON: The players were getting on a bus at noon when I was coming over here, that haven’t played substantial minutes, to go do extra work, aerobic, weight, whatever. There’s a basket and a gym at the facility that we have ‑‑ that we use, that we use when we’re here, and they’ll do some of that. I have one of my coaches going over if guys want to do individual work. The rest of the guys who played heavy minutes are going to have a day off, and this afternoon we’ll probably have a short meeting just to connect ourselves again and go about our day, so it’s not disconnectedness that might happen or loss of focus. So we’ll get it back.

Q. No film, watch film or anything like that?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, we might save them from that for a day. We’ll see.

Q. Every series takes on its own tone. How would you characterize this series?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, I kind of anticipated this was going to be a back and forth series like this. I said this the other day, it’s a lot of teeter‑totter here, despair and elation, but we’re going to try and establish the fact that we’re going back to LA with a 3‑2 lead. We believe we can do it. We felt we let one get away last night. We didn’t think that the Celtics played well enough for three quarters, and we squandered our opportunities in the third quarter, and that we came out without the kind of energy you have to sustain in the fourth quarter situation like this.
Continue reading ‘Phil Jackson – Friday Presser Transcript’

Phil Jackson’s 6-4 Practice Quotes

60633181Here’s what Phil Jackson had to say after Friday’s practice session at STAPLES Center:

Q. Everybody talks about Kobe, man on a mission, super serious attitude. Do you see much of a difference in Kobe now in that regard than earlier in the last decade when he was winning titles? Does it come with being more of a veteran or maybe did it come more after he won three years in a row with not once making the playoffs and twice being ousted in the first round?
PHIL JACKSON: Um, I think he’s always been a person that’s been extremely capable of concentrating and focusing on what he has to get accomplished. At some point I thought perhaps he had a more myopic view of it in his 20s, early 20s, when I first got here with the Los Angeles Lakers. The second year, or even in the first playoff, he started expanding his vision, and I think that comes with his dedication to the details of the game. So some of it I thought was about making plays. Now he’s capable of making the play that makes the play. That’s a big distinction. In hockey we still give them an assist, but in basketball we don’t. That’s a big distinction as to making the team react to what he’s doing so he can create an offensive opportunity for somebody else.

Q. Did it perhaps add more hunger when he had that three year stretch not once making the playoffs?
PHIL JACKSON: Oh, he couldn’t live with it. Kobe can’t live with not competing at the top level. He doesn’t understand that. We had many conversations early in his career about what it would be like when Shaq had retired and they weren’t going on together as a combo, and he never, ever saw himself in the position not to win. He thought that was his destiny.

Q. With all the talk about physicality in this series, the first game last night had 67 free throws. Is there any concern that this could just turn into a free throw competition? And is there anything that can be done to avoid that?
PHIL JACKSON: You know, I thought that the onset of the game created kind of a warning level for the referees who then called the game very close and very tight. You know, some of the things were just post up opportunities that guys got called on, which normally in this game probably wouldn’t be called. But because of the contact in the early part of the game, I think that that was the reason they might have been called. So I think that’s not going to be the normal activity. No one wants to see a team shoot 67 free throws in a ballgame, but that’s still part of the game, and that’s the process you have to adjust to the game as the game goes on, to how the game is being refereed, and we tell players that consistently, that you have to play beyond the refereeing, not above it or whatever, but just beyond it. Just play beyond it.

Q. So much of the talk after Game 1 was how physical you guys were and not Boston so much. Do you expect the Celtics to come out in Game 2 and really kind of push the physical envelope?
PHIL JACKSON: You know, there’s a difference between being aggressive and being physical, and I think that the distinction was made last night by Doc right here at the podium when he said that perhaps the Lakers were the aggressor. That’s a big difference. You know, it’s not about this is not a contact sport, we know that. Maybe it is a contact sport. Football is a collision sport. But this is not about power. This is a game about finesse and activity, and the activity is what creates the aggressiveness, I think, and that’s the context that I think we want to get this game to as coaches and as the NBA and everything else. We’re not talking about guys beating each other up and that type of stuff. So the physical context, yes, you’re going to be physical in the game, but it’s about being aggressive.
Continue reading ‘Phil Jackson’s 6-4 Practice Quotes’

Phil Jackson’s Wednesday Practice Quotes

60545280

Here’s the Q&A from Phil Jackson’s Wednesday afternoon press conference following L.A.’s practice:

Q. Andrew is sitting off to the side with his knee wrapped up in ice and everything. Did he practice today?
PHIL JACKSON: Yes.

Q. How did he look?
PHIL JACKSON: Fine.

Q. Do you think he’s ready to go for the series?
PHIL JACKSON: Yes, he is.

Q. So the knee drain worked apparently?
PHIL JACKSON: Whether that worked or not, it was a procedure that was, you know, tried, attempted. Whether it was successful in keeping his knee not swollen over this period of time, you know, that may not happen.

Q. Do you try to get into goading Perkins or some of the other guys into more emotional play, hoping that they’ll get a technical?
PHIL JACKSON: No.

Q. Do you want to save your match ups for Doc Rivers or do you want to disclose them today?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, you know, some match ups obviously we’ve had some success with. We had a couple of games in The Finals a couple years ago where Kobe played Rondo. I don’t think that’s any secret that he’ll be out there occasionally on him. Obviously it didn’t work in the final game; he had a big game. Our match ups on the bigs will be interchanged according to how we go. Ron is an obvious match up with Pierce, and so it goes.

Q. Kobe used to guard him basically so he could drop off him and help guard everybody else. The nature of that has changed, right?
PHIL JACKSON: Yes.

Q. The fact that you’re 47 0 in games in which teams you’ve coached had won the first game of the series, do you think there’s anything to that stat? And do you think it’s such that your players know that stat and other teams see that stat after you win the first game? How do you account for that?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, it’s obvious, first games are really important. I don’t know whether any other coaches or any other series go to as far as first games, but it’s pretty obvious the first game to win is a very important element in any kind of series. It also shows a little bit of dominance and preparedness. I will tell you the last time we played Boston in Boston, I felt we weren’t prepared for all the things they were capable of running and they showed it. They came out second half and had a great third quarter and really made it difficult for us.

Q. The word that so many people use to describe Pau Gasol is “skilled.” You keep hearing that, “skilled big man.” How would you describe him?
PHIL JACKSON: I don’t claim to have any ability or any influence in how Pau’s broadened his game. I think the way we play our game might give him a little bit more latitude to play high and low, outside and in as a center and in many different types of spots. His skill is that he is a good passer and a good ballplayer, ball handler and shooter with both hands. And that gives him the capabilities of going either directions, stepping out away from the basket, and getting shots depending upon how the defense plays him to either side.
Continue reading ‘Phil Jackson’s Wednesday Practice Quotes’

Fisher on Phil Jackson’s Unprecedented Success

D069188023.JPGWith L.A.’s Game 1 victory over Utah in the Western Conference Semi’s, Phil Jackson surpassed Pat Riley for the most playoff wins in Lakers history (103), then boosted his all-time postseason record to 215-93 (.698) with a Game 2 win. The 215 wins and .698 winning percentage are the most, and highest, respectively, of any NBA coach in playoff history.

Not bad.

Last season, when L.A. beat Orlando in the Finals, Jackson leapfrogged legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach for most championships won by a head coach, in addition to passing fellow Hall-of-Famer Bill Russell (11) for most championships won by a player/coach (Jackson won two as a player for the Knicks). Furthermore, if the Lakers advance to the NBA Finals in 2010, it will be Jackson’s 13th trip to the final round, tying him with NHL coaching legend Scotty Bowman for most finals appearances in any major U.S. professional sport.

Derek Fisher seemed to have Jackson’s unprecedented success in mind when detailing his personal opinion that Jackson has not, and does not get the credit of which he’s deserving.

Here’s what Fisher had to say when asked about Jackson after Wednesday’s practice:

I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves, because he’ll forever be – I guess unfortunately – saddled with, if you want to call it that, his past accomplishments. ‘Oh yeah, he had Michael Jordan, so that’s why he won. Yeah, he had Shaq, he had Kobe, so OK.’

I don’t understand that logic whatsoever, to be honest. I was taught that it’s more difficult to try and take talent or people that are supposed to be the elite and get them to buy into doing the things that need to be done to be successful as opposed to the less talented, and getting them to achieve maybe a little bit more than they would without you … but what else would they do?

It’s always hard for me when they throw around all these names of who is doing a great job coaching and the guy just wins championships and wins 70 percent of his games, but he’s always way down the list of people that are supposed to be good coaches.

Phil Jackson Pre Game 2 Comments

60335171Pregame media sessions with Phil Jackson have on more than a couple occasions this season featured questions regarding whether or not he’ll return to the Lakers next season.

His consistent position has been that he does not yet know, and won’t make a decision until the season is over.

The latest dialogue between Jackson and the media, prior to Game 2 of L.A.’s Western Conference Semi’s contest against Utah, went as follows:

Q: Do you actually know where you’ll be next year?
Jackson: Yes.

Q: Could you envision yourself coaching elsewhere.
Jackson: No. I really couldn’t. I can’t see that as an image or as a prospect.

Q: So (for the Lakers) or nowhere?
Jackson: Probably. I’d say it’s 90 percent that if I’m coaching it will be here.

Phil Jackson Pre-Game 3 Thoughts

A quick summary of Phil Jackson’s pregame media session heading into Thursday evening’s Game 3:

- Jackson said he’s “not so much worried about the noise” as he is about the Thunder’s play.

- On Andrew Bynum: “Game 1, I thought he had an impact. Tuesday he really didn’t have the kind of game he wanted, was very disappointed with his own play … I think he’ll start to sustain an effort as we go along … His length is a real big plus for us.”

- When asked what he said to Lamar Odom, about whom Jackson said he expected much more after Wednesday’s practice, Phil answered that he told Odom he was “M.I.A.” in Games 1 and 2. Not exactly in that terminology, but the point went through. Jackson said Odom just smiled.

- Jackson was not surprised that he did not receive a vote for Coach of the Year: “I think we underachiever and most people recognized that.”

Pregame: Phil Jackson on Kobe Bryant

D070840014.JPGPrior to L.A.’s Game 2 contest against Oklahoma City, Phil Jackson offered his take on Kobe Bryant’s struggle with his shooting and more in an interchange with collected media members. Here’s the transcription:

Q: On the reasons why Jackson wasn’t happy with how many touches his big men received in Game 1.
Jackson: I think a lot of it has to do with (having) Kobe back on the floor and the amount of attention he gets from some of our guys. They want to give him the ball inside of really seeing that the post is open, (and they’ve) got to pass it in there. They see where Kobe is a lot of times, and sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the most grease.

Q: On if he’s concerned about Kobe for the next 20 games.
Jackson: If Kobe’s going to play this style of basketball, he has to adjust his game to match ours. He can still play exactly the way he’s playing right now, but he has to limit the amount of shots he takes. Obviously he can’t shoot 30-something percent. He can’t shoot that percentage and have us be successful. Either his proficiency has to increase or he has to become a playmaker out of those things. But he can still draw all the attention and still make the plays.

Q: On how Jackson communicates about that with Bryant.
Jackson: Through various means. He is well aware of it. He’s a little befuddled by it, but coming to terms with it. He’s looking for a break out game. He hits a three the other night in a critical situation, clock-ending situation. Ball goes in. Great. Comes down and steps back for another three that doesn’t go in. Those are the things that he’s used to, that moment that when he gets hot he stays hot and can ride seven consecutive scoring opportunities down the floor. That hasn’t happened, and that makes all the difference in the world to his game. He’s still searching to step into that moment when he gets hot and stays hot.

Q: More on Bryant’s shooting:
Jackson: He had a lot of good look jump shots that he just didn’t want to shoot (on Sunday), or chose to drive or make a play. But he had some real good looks in the elbow area. His turnaround jump shot has always been a staple for him. That’s one of the things that he has to find. He’s been a guy that completes at the basket, and that’s something that hasn’t happened for him. He missed a couple inside that he makes on normal occasions.

Q: On what he thinks is specifically bothering Bryant the most:
Jackson: I thought he had live legs again on Sunday. I liked that. That’s why I’m optimistic. I think (what’s limiting him) is a combination of all these things. Right now it’s being out of rhythm having to sit out and get himself prepared for (the playoffs). But he’ll be back, and he’ll be back strong.

Q: On Bryant’s attitude and reception to coaching and playing:
Jackson: I think he searches for his teammates to show direction or initiative, and if they don’t, he’s going to step into the vacuum as quickly as a wink. Because if they’re not active and directive and attacking and doing things that he sees this offense has to do, then he’s going to step in and carry the torch.

Lakers – Thunder Gameday Page

Phil Jackson Fined

From NBA PR:
NEW YORK, April 15, 2010 – Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson has been fined $35,000 for publicly criticizing game officials, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

Jackson was fined for comments made to the media on April 13.