Phil Jackson’s ‘Eleven Rings’ Is A Highlight After A Rough Season

Phillip Barnett —  May 21, 2013

I received my copy of Phil Jackson’s Eleven Rings  on Friday and immediately delved into the 334 page journey through Phil Jackson’s 11 (well actually, 13) championships (two as a player). The book begins, however, with Jackson describing the Lakers’ 2009 championship parade.

“Here I was sitting in a limo at the ramp leading into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, waiting for my team to arrive, while an ecstatic crowd of ninety-five thousand plus fans, dressed in every possible combination of Lakers purple and gold, marched into the stadium. Women in tutus, men in Star Wars storm-trooper costumes, toddlers waving “Kobe Diem” signs. Yet despite all the zaniness, there was something inspiring about this acnient ritual with a decidedly L.A. twist. As Jeff Weiss, a writer for LA Weekly, put it: iIt was the closest any of us will ever know what it was like to watch the Roman Legions returning home after a tour of Gaul.'”

That was the second paragraph on the first page of Eleven Rings, and after reading that PJax “never loved being the center of attention” I couldn’t really put the book down this past weekend.

Eleven Rings is more than just a relentless foray in to the countless bumps in the road, the countless numbers of characters and egos he had to balance, and foreign techniques used to band groups of men together to win championships, it’s also a tremendous walk down memory lane, whether you’re a Knicks, Bulls or Lakers fan, through some great times.

While Jackson spends a large chunk of the book discussing his years and New York and Chicago, the efforts of this post will be focused on his time in Los Angeles.

For me, the 2000-2002 run for the Lakers happened during my formative years as a sports fan. I had grown up in a house hold full of Lakers fans while growing up in Los Angeles. My dad was a die-hard who attended several games at the Great Western Forum and watched the Lakers win five championships in the 80s on tape delay. Through my years in elementary school, the Lakers hadn’t found that kind of success. There were fun and likable players (Eddie Jones and Nick Van Exel) and a couple of super stars (Shaq, a full-fledged star in 1996 with Kobe showing hits that he would be), but the ultimate success was never realized through the 1999 lockout season.

Jackson was offered the job heading into the 1999-00 season with a new arena for the Lakers to call home, and recounts how he learned about the offer from Dr. Jerry Buss and Jerry West.

I was in the middle of nowhere–a small village on the Iliamna Lake in Alaska–when I heard the news. My sons, Ben and Charlie, were with me. We were on a fly-fishing trip in a secluded wilderness area, and the fishing wasn’t going very well. So that afternoon we knocked off early and boated up the Iliamna River to see the falls. When we arrived back at the village, a throng of children surrounded us.

“Are you Phil Jackson?” one of the boys asked.

“Yes,” I replied. “Why?”

“I hear you got the job with the Lakers.”

“What? How do you know that?”

“We got a dish. It’s on ESPN.”

And that’s how Jackson’s journey began with the Lakers. As the book progresses, Jackson tells a story about Kobe asking Jackson to autograph a copy of his book Sacred Hoops upon their first meeting and telling Dr. Buss that he thought the Lakers could win three or four championships before his first practice with the team. He would go on to tell the story about how he and Jeanie got acquainted for the first time (the story involves cake) and a story about Kobe telling Michael Jordan that he’d kick MJ’s a– in a game of one-on-one.

More important than the small anecdotes, was Jackson’s ability to rekindle a love with the Lakers that had somehow been taken for granted over the last few seasons. I began cover the team here for FB&G the year before that 2009 season that Jackson started the book with, and have started to become jaded with the successes this team has afforded me as a fan since then. The people, the games, the stories, the struggles, the ups, the downs are all what got me to start following this team to begin with. And this book goes into detail about all of those things.

I was taken on a voyage through the absolute joy that came with the Lakers 2000 championship. The frustrations with the 2001 team during the regular season and the pure awe that came with their romp through that particular post season. Then Jackson takes you through the tumultuous 2002 season that saw a wild Western Conference Finals series against the Kings and the collective relief in Los Angeles when the Lakers won Game 7 against their rivals up north.

Jackson reminds us about the wild ride of a 2008 season that saw the Lakers get off to a hot start with Kobe and Bynum starting to click, Bynum’s injury, the Gasol trade, the Finals run and the heart breaking loss to the Celtics. Then we’re treated to a couple more Finals runs in 2009 (good god I love Derek Fisher) and 2010 (how great was Ron Artest?).

Much like Jackson’s book The Last SeasonEleven Rings gives us insight as to what went on behind the scenes during all of these runs. We learn about Jackson resenting Kobe because of his sexual assault case because his daughter fell victim to a similar situation. Jackson also provides some insight about some of the differences and similarities between Kobe and Jordan (Rick Fox also shares some thoughts on this).

What you also get from Eleven Rings is a lesson in team building and leadership. Jackson provides insight into the techniques he used and techniques he learned from other coaches and techniques of Eastern philosophies.

If nothing else, I’d suggest picking up Eleven Rings for some of the anecdotes you may not have known otherwise. It’s a great ride through 13 different championships seasons with three different franchises in two different roles. Jackson is one of the most legendary figures in NBA lore, and Eleven Rings just adds to his legend.

Phillip Barnett

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67 responses to Phil Jackson’s ‘Eleven Rings’ Is A Highlight After A Rough Season

  1. Great write up Phillip.
    11 rings: Sounds like fiction – but is found very prominently in non-fiction.
    13 Championships: Allow me to perform the due diligence on this one – I want this guy on my team. Anyone who picked teams at recess would do the same.

  2. Warren Wee Lim May 21, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    In other news, the Cavaliers win the lottery. Again.

  3. In other, other news, Vinny del Negro is out.

    Perhaps he will be our next savior.

  4. Was debating getting it… you tilted me a bit closer to buying…

  5. R: Del Negro’s team won its first division title in team history and had 56 wins – yet he was fired. The Clips had the LA environment to deal with, the crosstown rivals, and the injuries Yet they still did not think Del Negro’s performance was worthy of keeping him around. Perhaps the Clippers are more entitled than we are. Or perhaps they have higher standards.

  6. During the season , i watched the Clippers, i don’t see a system, players said they like the coach because the coach let them play, so i was not surprised the Clippers went down, well Lakers should felt lucky that they did not pay CP3 20 mil a year, what people don’t see is it’s not hard to defend CP3. About Howard, he was complaint about MDA, it’s means Howard didn’t understand MDA offense, his offense depending on PG first not a center, look at Jemery Lin did in NY, i like Howard 5 years a go, but not now. If i am right i think one top assistant of MDA is current Memphis coach. When Phil got Shaq and Kobe , this team is still Shaq’s team, and after that this was Kobe’s team not Gasol, so if you don’t like it, don’t bother go to LA. The future of Lakers won’t be end if Howard won’t come here, there are good free agent players out there.

  7. Robert,

    VDN almost certainly got canned because Paul doesn’t like him. If the Lakers can MDA for the same reason with Howard, that’s OK with me. But it has nothing to do with “standards.” You wore out the drum awhile back.

  8. Except that the standard was for the clippers to make a deep playoff run. So yes, it was about standards.

    The difference (lakers vs clippers) is that the clippers most likely, do not have a backup plan for a replacement coach and that the decision, to fire Del Negro, was not run by cp3. I suspect Sterling made another one of his rash decisions…

    Just like the hiring of MDA…

  9. I’m a little older than Phil Jackson and I am 30yrs past a back operation, but most would say I am in very good physical condition. I know what it is like to wake up feeling really stiff. I understood what Phil meant when he told John Stewart his mind could coach, but his body didn’t want to. I also understand why Jeannie would say Phil can still coach – he can, but his body wants him to stop traveling so much – because she is enough younger that she doesn’t need to understand the demands of her body as well.

    All this is to say I wouldn’t bet on Phil returning to coach the Lakers, regardless what happens in the front office/coaching. Not saying he won’t; just that I wouldn’t bet a penny on it.

  10. Warren Wee Lim May 22, 2013 at 8:30 am

    I think the we want Phil chants will only stop if Phil himself said he didn’t want to anymore.

    He deserves all his praise but he also deserves to not be called upon every Laker turmoil that goes on.

    The Lakers as a franchise need measures to stay positive going forward. 2014 is not really a real plan with definite answers but its a backup when all else fails. The only game-changing name thats potentially available is Lebron. Odds are not onnour favor. The rest do not exponentially increase the odds of another championship.

  11. We need a 2 and a 3 – one for scoring and one for defense. We also need to get younger and more athletic. We have to try and sign Earl Clark, Darius Morris, and Andrew Goudelock for bench play. We need these things regardless of the coaching situation or Dwight Howard. If Howard goes then Sacre has a job on the bench. IMO, Jamison will not come back.

  12. Looking forward to reading Eleven Rings –
    ——–
    I agree with Craig on the need for a 2 & 3 as well as Clark, Morris & Goudelock
    & yeah, it seems more than likely that we´re gonna have MD´A at the helm next year, so hopefully we´ll get the defensive-minded assistant he requested and go from there

  13. So yes, it was about standards.

    _________________

    Not buying it. It was about Paul. If you want to argue that Paul would have backed Del Negro if they had won a couple of playoff series, then maybe. But Paul was supposedly discontented with Del Negro long before the playoffs, and I am 99.9% sure that if Paul had said “Keep this guy as coach; this is the guy I want here”, Del Negro would still have a job.

  14. http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/9301671/phil-jackson-told-los-angeles-lakers-gm-mike-dantoni-hire-laughed
    —————————–

    LOS ANGELES — When Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak called Phil Jackson to tell him the Lakers were hiring Mike D’Antoni instead of him as coach, he responded the only way he knew how.

    “I laughed,” Jackson told ESPN’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show Wednesday. “It was humorous to me when Mitch said that we think that Mike is a better coach for this group of guys.”

  15. I suspect Sterling made another one of his rash decisions…

    Unlikely. Del Negro is pretty cheap, as coaches go, and that is supposedly what Sterling cares about.

  16. More Phil:

    At the moment, Jeanie Buss is not involved in the basketball operations of the team. But even if that were to change and she tried to convince Jackson to come back and coach the Lakers, Jackson said he would try to convince her to look at one of his former assistants for the job.

    “We got people who can do this job quite well and (I’d try to) convince her of that. I think that’s the real truth,” Jackson said. “The Lakers need to do a few things. They need to sign Howard, they need to get their monetary system, their contracts under order so they can move forward. That’s their biggest challenge right now, management basically”
    ____________

  17. Craig: “IMO, Jamison will not come back.” You think? : ) IMO – you are correct : )
    rr: “It was about Paul”: Well OK – but that is the Clippers. What about the Lakers? Is it going to be about DH? And if not – what would it be about?
    Phil Chants: They will go away when someone else is successful with the team. Please see Riley in Miami for this situation.
    from rr’s article: “Jackson said he would try to persuade her to look at one of his former assistants for the job.” Brian Shaw in other words
    DJ: “The future of Lakers won’t be end if Howard won’t come here” – No it will not – but a successful future will become more distant.

  18. It’s comments like this and the ones on Dan Patrick that don’t help management’s case in trying to resign Dwight. Phil is just blasting them left and right. He’s has first hand dealings with the Lakers. Also a powerful voice I’m sure when Dwight hears these quotes it doesn’t sway him in choosing the Lakers. This coming from a guy who doesn’t care it Dwight stays or goes. Phil’s not helping.

  19. Is it going to be about DH? And if not – what would it be about?

    Like I have said, I would be fine with it if they can D’Antoni to appease Howard. My objections to some of the arguments produced by the MDA Death Squad have been blaming Pringles for everything, the repetitiveness, (we get it) and the insistence on diminishing some very real roster issues.

    As to Phil, he is just being Phil. People should also remember that there was some pretty nasty back-and-forth between MDA and Phil during the heyday of SSOL. Phil is going to diss MDA every chance he gets, and I expect that MDA will fire back in the media within 24 hours.

  20. Kevin: I do not disagree, however Phil has never really been a nice guy. He is a successful guy with a mean streak. Just the type you want on your team. That said, he has been very gracious to have not said all this and blown this thing up during the year. He waited until after he year and that is all we could ask. Do you expect him to take this to his grave like a secret? I mean what would you have said if you were Phil when Mitch told you that. It seems more ridiculous to me now than it did then. It is like not hiring Einstein to teach a course in relativity. Who does that?

  21. On the contrary, Phil is helping. He knows this team cannot be successful with MDA, and keeping MDA decreases the likelihood of signing Dwight. We need more public figures (like Phil, Magic, Jamison) speaking up against Jim and MDA, to increase the odds that MDA will be replaced with a coach better suited for this team.

  22. Robert,

    You are reaching, buddy, due to your constant, white-hot emotions about the issue. If Phil wanted to be “gracious”, he could simply have said “No comment” and talked about his book.

    This whole thing is in some ways a good example of the hazards of mixing business and family. Maybe the Lakers’ model won’t work with the old man gone. We will see.

  23. rr: I have never called MD by any names (snack foods or otherwise). I also do not seek any cruel and unusual punishment. Just a restraining order from the Lakers : ) And I do not diminish the roster issues, however we must do things in priority sequence: Coach, DH, then fill in the roster. Filling in the roster at this point is – well – a little difficult – if you don’t know what you are going to be running, or who you top players are going to be. AJ’s experience will be noted by all, and anyone of value coming here will need to be told a good story. And that does not exist yet. Too much up in the air.

  24. I have never called MD by any names (snack foods or otherwise).

    That is true, but you take shots at him in every thread, on every topic. Phil, Del Negro–whatever–you always bring it back to your intense dislike of D’Antoni. The smiley faces don’t change that.

    You are certainly not alone in wanting him gone. As the KBros said on their podcast yesterday, Howard would become a local hero if he got MDA fired and Phil back in the FO.

  25. Phil has said multiple times he no longer wants to coach. In the article that Markazi wrote, he quoted Phil saying that moving forward, he doesn’t want to coach and wouldn’t take the job if offered. Further, Phil even said himself that he felt a bit of “relief” that the Lakers didn’t outright offer him the job because he wasn’t sure if he was up to the task physically. I love Phil Jackson as a coach and I would have supported bringing him back on as a coach after Mike Brown was fired, but nothing that’s come out since that point convinces me he’d have been a savior for this particular Lakers’ season. I think his background with Kobe and desire to play through the post more would have helped Gasol and Dwight (when both were healthy enough to play). He’d also have inspired more calm with the fans and that’s a tangible thing that can’t be ignored. But that calm quickly dissolves when the losses pile up. And with the injuries this team suffered this season, it’s difficult to project how those losses are avoided.

    Ultimately, I still believe this team can win with D’Antoni. Win to what level is unclear, but that’s true with whoever coaches this team. Winning a title is incredibly difficult and requires not just talent on the floor or a coach pulling the right levers, but a fair amount of luck. The Spurs are in the conference finals not just because they’re a great team, but also because they faced a severely depleted Lakers’ team and a Warriors’ squad that suffered a mid-series injury to their best player that hampered him the rest of the series. The Grizzlies faced a Clippers’ team that had Blake Griffin severely sprain his ankle halfway through their series and then a Thunder team that was without Russell Westbrook. This isn’t to discount those teams who are still playing, but it needs to be noted that their path to where they got was influenced by these factors.

  26. Phil Jackson, 11 championships as a coach and 2 as a player in the NBA, for a total of 13. The only other player/coach who can be mentioned in the same breath is Bill Russell. 9 championships as a player & 2 as a player/coach for a total of 11.

    Phil & Bill, can anyone else claim the type of success these two gentleman have reached in the NBA? In the world of sports?

  27. Sid: Riley is also on that list (albeit behind those guys). He has 5 as a coach and 1 as a player. Also – how bout Bud Grant? – who has a Laker championship ring as a player and also took an NFL team to the Super Bowl as a coach. Use that in a trivia contest !

  28. Any hopes of a deep playoff run ended with Kobe’s achilles injury. I don’t think Phil, or any decent coach, would have left Kobe in the game after suffering two consecutive leg injuries in one game…… and I am perplexed that so many fans are giving MDA a free pass for, IMO, an unforgivable coaching sin.

    Also, when MDA took over the sidelines, the team was at 500. Once MDA took over, the team went into a downward spiral by trying to implement his system. When the team changed their stye of play by playing to their strengths, they took off, despite all the injuries….so it’s reasonable to conclude that the downward spiral the team went through could have been avoided with Phil because he would have coached to the team’s strengths from the very get go. If that losing streak was avoided, there would have been no need to play desperation ball, overplaying players, etc, just to eke into the playoffs.

    This team needs and deserves a coach the players respect, that knows how to make defensive adjustments. Phil might not be a realistic option based on his comments, but that has no bearing on whether MDA should coach this team again.

  29. The lakers as currently constructed do not believe in D’antoni. If Phil was coaching, they would have believed him. D’antoni completely bungled his relationship with Pau and made some other dumb comments along the way. There was no real leader this year on the team. Too many egos – and that’s really a PJ specialty.

    The injuries were critical, but I do think the year would have turned out differently if PJ was at the helm. Kobe would have played less minutes – and probably no achilles issue. DH would have probably decided by now. With PJ’s relationship to Jeannie, I can’t believe he would give DH that much breathing room.

    Having PJ is an added bonus for recruiting. How many players have said they wanted to play for PJ? How many say that about D’Antoni, or any other coach in the league? I can only think of a few that would qualify.

  30. Again, I’m not going to argue against Phil, I can only take what he said at face value. And on one hand he implied that he’d employ a strategy that would better maximize the strengths of Pau and Dwight. That’s exactly what I’d expect too and is why I said I’d have supported bringing him back. On the the other hand he said that he wasn’t sure he was up to the task physically and wondered if he’d have the energy to give to the team through the rigors of a marathon regular season. So, in that respect, I wonder how things would have turned out. Remember, in Phil’s last season — one that he was suffering through health issues and surely struggling with his energy — it was the areas of motivating his players through the hard times that seemed to give him the most issues. There were factors that played into that — like trying to make a 4th consecutive Finals — but him hitting Pau in the chest was an uncharacteristic tactic that I think spoke to how he was grasping at ways to get the most out of his team. I can’t say for certain things would have been incredibly different this season based off his recent comments.

    As for D’Antoni, as much as fans don’t like him, they also disliked his predecessor in equal amounts. The fact is, fans aren’t happy unless the team is winning and when it comes to coaches the grass always seems to be greener with the prospect of a replacement. But the fact is that there are few elite coaches in this league — Poppovich, Thibs, etc — and the rest are range from very good to mediocre. The key is finding the right man for your job, but coaching the Lakers is not so simple…in fact over the Span of Kobe’s career, only one coach has really maximized the talent on the roster to win a title and, as mentioned, he had his issues as well. At some point you have to give a coach a chance to succeed or fail on his own merits and 80% of a season isn’t really a chance. Fans are upset about Kobe’s injury and how he handled Pau and the slow adjustment to a more big man oriented system, and I understand those things. I’m frustrated about some of them as well.

    All that said, good luck finding the right man to instantly corral this group of players and make them a cohesive unit instantly. As we said to start this past year it will take time. I do think there have been strides in that direction but more movement is needed. Not just from the coach, but from the players as well. It would also help to upgrade some of the talent (especially defensively) on the roster to aid in some of the deficiencies that could then lead to more victories. Because, again, everyone wants to win and as the old saying goes, winning is the best deodorant.

  31. Robert: assume for a ment that Phil will not coach. What then? Should we risk another season on a rookie coach (shaw), a guy with a questionable coaching record (Rambis) or a guy that has a reputation for turning players against him or having players tune him out (B Scott)? These are tough questions thy are not easily answered. Look, if Dwight, Kobe and Pau ( maybe Nash too) dislike Mike D and recommend a coaching change, then I’m all for it. How’ever don’t for a minute think picking a successor will be easy.

    Finally, Phil is on record several times on radio interviews as stating he wants a FO job and Would prefer not to coach. I’m not sure how much clearer than that he can be on the subject. My hope is that the Lakers extend an olive branch to him and engage him at least as a consultant with the hopes that maybe that is a way to bridge the perceived rift between Jeannie and Jim. However, Phil strikes me as a pretty stubborn guy as well so I don’t know if he would join the team on a non-decision-making role. Again, tough decisions to be made here.

  32. MannyP,

    Your questions are very fair, but Robert is already on record with his “dream team” of:

    Jeannie-Team Pres
    Phil-Basketball Ops/VP/Pres whatever
    Shaw-Coach
    Fisher–Asst Coach

  33. First, kudos to Phillip for a terrific post. Absolutely outstanding. Just one quick observation about Vinny D. He did what 22 coaches before him did not do. He was able to block out interference from management and give his players a bubble of energy and confidence to play in. It’s easy to look at the talent on his roster but the Clippers have had some amazing players over the years. VD isn’t a great coach from an X’s & O’s standpoint but he got a lot done.

  34. Well… Fisher will never coach. Dude views himself as a starter in the NBA (insert smiley face)

  35. Honestly the coaching thing should be given a rest unless of course Dwight has made it known to our FO that MDA being here plays a major role on whether he signs with us. Even then, however, Dwight’s words should only be given consideration and not taken as an ultimatum as he wavers a lot anyway.

  36. The ownership of our beloved team is of more concern to me than who is coaching or for that matter if DH stays or goes.

    That said, its time to close the door on the PJ/Triangle era. It’s done and it ain’t never coming back.

  37. rr: Accurate – thank you. And I like your idea about DH being a hero – it could repair his reputation in LA. Genius in fact. That is why you are my GM. You are solving 3 problems in 1 move.

    MannyP: Shaw is the logical candidate. He was who we should have selected when we hired Brown. We can correct that mistake now. Perfect time to do it, as the expectations for next year are not very high. If you wait until 14 and we do hit some FAs, then the new coach will come in with the same instant championship expectations. I would also float the coaching possibilities with DH and KB before the hire is made at midnight, under cloak and dagger. “tough decisions to be made here” – yes exactly. I want a decision to be made. Who is our coach going to be and why? Not – well – we have this guy and well let’s just keep him and see what happens and give him another chance – even we don’t feel too good about it. That doesn’t sound very much like the Lakers. And with regard to DF – well – we could let Shaw determine if was “threatened” by DF’s presence on the bench : ) And if he was that would indicate that Shaw would not be the right man for the job. I don’t think he would be threatened, so my dream team stands. Phil as President is optional by the way. Mitch can stay. It is positions 1 and 3 on rr’s list that are key.

    Darius: Excellent posts – very balanced and logical – just commenting on a couple of your many good quotes above (and my comments are just general – not directed at you)

    “there are few elite coaches in this league ” – so next time we have the chance to get one – we should take it – Kundla, Auerbach, Riley, Pop, Jackson. That is 34 championships with 5 guys. Yes the superstars are the main reason – but the coach is right up there. What are the chances that Pop ever coaches anyone other than the Spurs? Auerbach stayed with the Celtics until his death bed. Then we have Riley and Jackson (and of course West – the best GM of All time). LA is an interesting place indeed.

    “in fact over the Span of Kobe’s career, only one coach has really maximized the talent on the roster to win a title” Yes – so if only one guy out of 8 succeeded – would you bet on him again or would you roll the dice with coach #9? I am a poker player (just like Jerry Buss was), so how can a decision like that not be questioned. It is simple odds.

  38. Robert,
    The underlying point, however, may be that he was never up for the job or wouldn’t have taken it anyway. At this point, it’s a real unknown so it’s hard for me to get on board with the idea that they should have “gotten him” when he was “available” because things just can’t be known for certain. Just like it can’t be known for certain how he would have performed if he did take the job.

    And if there’s one issue I take with those who insist Phil should have been the hire it’s the implied results his hire would have achieved. Many seem to project what the outcome would have been and that’s something I just can’t get on board with. This is also why I’m critical of D’Antoni for some of his mistakes but more understanding of the job he did based off the circumstances he faced. Ultimately, I recognize that this season presented challenges that would have made it incredibly difficult for any coach to succeed so I don’t really see any coach as a savior. I also don’t really like dealing with hypotheticals or judging people (players or coaches) against expectations from those hypotheticals or projections. It seems like a waste of time.

  39. Robert – Phil is not coming back as a coach. Shaw would be a rookie coach – which in itself has a lot of issues – and I think only 1 rookie coach has won it all. So, why would Shaw be appealing to Dwight? I’m not sure if I understand the logic here.

    To clarify, Shaw may have been the right choice when we hired Brown, but two years down the road, with Dwight a free agent, you need a very compelling coaching choice – and certainly someone who can immediately take this team to the finals (a tall order even for Phil Jackson) If Phil will not come back as a coach(as he has said), then who would be the best choice here? If Shaw, I would love to hear some solid reasons beyond “he knows the triangle”. But if not Shaw, who can we realistically get?

  40. Can’t we please get beyond the coach to the players?

    Unless some kind of miracle happens, Phil is not coming back. Even if he did return, this team is not designed for the triangle offense. No one else has experience running a team using the triangle, unless you want Kurt Rambis as coach.

    Let’s start with today as a baseline and go forward, not try to look backward any longer. Mike D’Antoni is the most probable coach and, regardless, we need an athletic 2 and 3.

  41. Craig

    I made the same plea a couple of weeks ago. It doesn’t seem to do any good. Even though the roster questions is much more important then the coach. Even with Phil it might have mention a couple more wins and out in the 1st round because of injuries.

    And for those who still want to blame Mike for Kobes injury, Michael Crabtree of the 49ers just tore his Achilles after resting the entire winter. It’s not a wear and tear injury.

  42. After a cursory search of the internet I would consider the following players at the vets minimum:
    1) Wesley Johnson: Young, athletic, steady defensive player, can guard 2 or 3, occasionally will score, won’t take over any games. Could start occasionally. This would be my first choice because of youth, fundamentals, and our needs.
    2) Dorell Wright: Experienced vet, 3pt threat, rebounds, can handle the ball. Fits Mike D. system.
    3) Anthony Morrow: Experienced vet, 3pt threat, will rebound, doesn’t handle the ball well. Fits Mike D. system.
    4) Ronnie Brewer: Experienced defender at 2 or 3 – like Sefolosha Jr. – little offense.
    5) Matt Barnes: Rebound and hustle. Don’t count on him for offense.

    These players would either be too expensive or their current club will likely retain them:
    1) Francisco Garcia – Houston could let him go to get Dwight, but he will likely command much more than we would pay
    2) Martell Webster – He expects to get paid with this contract.
    3) Chase Budinger – The Wolves want to resign him and he provides questionable defense.
    4) Sam Young – He provides rebounding and energy, but I think we need more than this.

    I listed the players in preference order, but if we sign a defensive player then we should look to the next offensive player – the reverse is true if we sign an offensive player.

  43. Craig/Michael H: The middle roster is important, but there are several issues: 1) We have no money to offer and only the exceptions 2) Our situation is so up in the air that until things get settled – who would want to come here? 3) We have no team identity so how do we know what we need – OK younger and more athletic, but that gives us something in common with 30 other teams. Nobody tries to get older and less athletic. 4) We can’t mortgage our future beyond 14 which limits any trades. 5) AJ’s experience crushes any hopes of someone coming here for less money than they can get in FA.
    Darius: Thanks for the response – Fair enough. I do not think we would have won any titles with Phil as our coach this year. I do think we would have fared better and we would have a better team unity and direction. Would we be playing now with all these injuries? – no. Not even with Phil. My question is this (not just to you): If MD were not our coach right now – would we hire him – knowing what we do now? That is how we should make the decision. We are not stuck – even though some think we are.
    MannyP: I agree that we would be taking somewhat of a risk with Shaw. He is not a fully known quantity. He was well liked by the players, well respected in the league, and endorsed by the greatest coach of all time. Also sometimes a guy who hasn’t come up to bat yet is preferable to a guy who has gone 0-11. This link summarizes the top prospects. I am not alone in the high value on Shaw. Others will seek him if we do not. B Scott (also on the attached list) would be the second choice. He has been to the Finals twice as a coach and has 3 rings as a player.
    http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/47012184/

  44. So, why would Shaw be appealing to Dwight? I’m not sure if I understand the logic here.

    The Triangle is a post and re-post system, which Howard supposedly wants. Howard supposedly does not like MDA’s system. Also, there were numerous reports that Howard wanted Shaw to replace SVG in Orlando. Yes, Shaw would be a rookie coach, but he played and coached with the Lakers for many years, and he has a good relationship with Kobe, so focusing on his lack of experience in the big chair is slanting the facts. There are many legitimate reasons to talk about Shaw, and most people thought he would get the job after Phil.

    And, finally, with the big caveat of Nash–and it is a big caveat–this could, in fact, be a Triangle-type roster, particularly if they add a defense-oriented wing.

    Phil Jackson is consulting for the Pistons on their HC search, and Shaw is supposedly on the short list, although he is busy at the moment in the ECF with the Pacers.

  45. Ramona Shelburne @ramonashelburne Obvious top candidates for Clippers job: Alvin Gentry, ** Byron Scott **, Mike Malone, ** Brian Shaw **, Lionel Hollins 3:30 PM – 21 May 2013

  46. Also, people questioning Shaw should note that as he soon as he was available, Indiana, one of the best-run orgs in the league, currently in the ECF with no elite superstar and having played the whole year without Danny Granger, immediately hired Shaw.

  47. The team’s gone through a lot of changes over the past two years – players, coaches, support staff. That plus all the injuries has made it pretty rough. My wish is for some stability next year. The 2014-15 season will most likely be the beginning of a huge rebuild so I just want to see one season with as many of the guys back and healthy as possible.

  48. Love the sound bytes of Vogel and Spolestra during the game tonight. Two bright coaching minds.

    And I don’t care what anybody says, I will always believe that MDA’s overuse of Kobe contributed to this lost season. His failure to even try to develop his bench spoke of his insecurity.

  49. Gotta love what this Pacers team is doing right now. Hangin’ in there with the defending champs. I was overjoyed to see Ray Allen miss that game clinching free throw too. ;)

  50. Indiana had a few terrible breakdowns defensively towards the end of the game. Should have gone up 1-0. Oh well.

  51. rr – All I was asking for was a well rounded explanation.. and I finally got it. Thanks.

  52. Robert
    Doesn’t matter who the coach is or the system we run. We have two needs that we will need regardless of the system. We need shooters to spread the floor. The Spurs put 5 guys on Pau and Howard. And it goes beyond the bigs. Kobe also needs space to work. We also a solid wing
    defender. That will also not change with the
    system. As far as Money, this is the brave new world of the NBA. The CBA screwed 90% of the players and there will be players available to help this. All you have to do is look at what some guys made last year to see that their will be guys available in our budget range.

  53. I didn’t really read this post because I am currently reading the book and didn’t want to spoil it.

    But the reminds why Phil stands out. Any coach can teach a system and yell at players and refs. What Phil did REALLY WAS to get a group of guy with obvious personal motivation, money, fame, praise, whatever, to put that aside to some degree and come together as a team.

    And it happens so rarely that it is a huge advantage. The triangle just happened to fit the philosophy. On its own it is just another offense.

    It is EXACTLY what this Laker team needs. Pau not worrying abut touches. Dwight part of a team instead of an individual. A coach who looks at players’ strengths and plays to them. This was, besides injuries, a year of individual talents with, interestingly, Kobe being the guy trying to get them to pull together.

    Phil is a great leader of men. We need that.

  54. Michael H,

    Just look at Memphis. When it comes to wing players who spread the floor, Nash is a better outside shooter than Conley (although Conley is the better overall player), Kobe is by far a better shooter than Tony Allen, and Artest and Prince are comparable. The difference is that Memphis has a coach who knows how to play to his team’s strengths by effectively utilizing his post players and slowing down the pace. He preaches defense as a top priority and players obviously respect him. He is basically the polar opposite of MDA. Coaches and systems are important in this league. I don’t disagree with you that this roster has holes to fill, but even if those holes are filled, the team needs a coach the players respect, who has an effective system for this roster, knows how to plan defensive schemes, and knows how to make adjustments. MDA certainly does not qualify for any of these.

  55. Michael H: I am with you with regard to the needs. Keep in mind that those bargain type players are not available until late in the FA period. They test the waters, and then the guys who don’t get picked at recess have to sign for the exceptions.
    Craig: I like #5 on your first list. Shows you have a sense of humor (and I like Barnes).
    MannyP: What did I do to you : ) And after I wrote a post complimenting you in the last thread ! rr is more detailed than I – that is for sure. For me it works like this. One guy is endorsed by the greatest coach of all time and is coveted by every team in the NBA. The other guy is endorsed by somebody else.
    Tom Daniels: Yes – leadership. And respect And charisma. Those things can’t be measured in stats or x’s and o’s, so there is no geometric proof to show who is the better coach. However if a stat is needed – then I guess I would refer to the title of this thread.
    LeBron: I had to root for him again tonight. Can’t have those Spurs get #5, and I can’t trust the Pacers to beat them.

  56. TD
    If I’m not mistaken that’s opposite of what Pau and Bynum were doing the last couple of seasons under Mr. Great Leader

  57. LT

    I have to disagree because Memphis doesn’t have enough shooting either. They won this year with defense (gave up only 89 points a game) and rebounding. They had issues with teams that could match their size. Currently the Spurs are doing the same thing they did to the Lakers. They are flooding the paint and putting length on zbo. If the Griz can’t make some shot to space the floor, the Spurs will win this series.

  58. For me it works like this. One guy is endorsed by the greatest coach of all time and is coveted by every team in the NBA. The other guy is endorsed by somebody else.

    “The other guy” has also been a successful NBA head coach and has been on Team USA’s staff under Krzyzewski. This is just slanting the facts the other way, like calling Shaw a “rookie” and ignoring the other stuff about him.

  59. Michael H: (see I am trying to talk about something else): I brought this up with Kevin before. I do not understand the 3 pointer, spread the floor thing (so I agree with LT). Kobe and Nash are 2 of the best 3 pointers in the history of the NBA ! They still are !. Pau is a great outside shooter. AJ is a good shooter. How could we possibly not be able to spread the floor? I never understood this even after watching every minute of every game (well I may have missed a few minutes).
    rr: I think you and I are the same here. Shaw is a logical choice, and he will get offers to go somewhere (he already turned down Bobcats) if not here. You are jus not as adamant that a change needs to be made.
    trollman: ” what Pau and Bynum were doing the last couple of seasons under Mr. Great Leader” – by the way – one of those couple of seasons resulted in a ring, so whatever we were doing – it was good.

  60. For anyone on the fence about buying Phil’s new book, check out this lengthy excerpt:

    http://www.npr.org/books/titles/183971613/eleven-rings-the-soul-of-success?tab=excerpt#excerpt

    The man makes me giddy.

    This should help everyone understand why most fans simply can’t let go of the dream that is Phil Jackson…his own health/desire comments aside.

  61. Would Phil have been able to do more with this team? Maybe. But, does anyone posting remember Phil’s last season??? The team struggled, looked disengaged, he looked disengaged and they never seemed to be able to get any kind of rhythm. Result: swept by Dallas.
    Don’t get me wrong, I think PJ is arguably the greatest NBA coach ever but he looked done by the end of the 2010-11 season.
    He doesn’t seem interested in the grind of coaching and wants new challenges. Fair enough.
    My problem with this entire thing is that we don’t really know the kind of team we have – injuries saw to that. We also don’t know the kind of offensive player DH really is; he seems to be lacking in post moves but is that because of his health or just poor technique? With DH & Nash we thought we’d be seeing great pick and roll offense – didn’t happen.
    With this team, I’m not sure what system would be effective. Looking forward to next year when everyone comes back healthy (Kobe?), a few new pieces & time for MDA to implement a system, both offensive & defensive.

  62. ESPN commented ,”D’Antoni’s up-tempo style had worked well in Phoenix with Nash as the point guard, and there was a feeling that reuniting the two would create another version of “Showtime” in Los Angeles. But Jackson felt that the Lakers could win by focusing on their talented big men rather than forcing them to run and shoot from the outside.”

    This has been my commentary on the coaching selection and player trades/signings over the last 2 years. They are trying to to engineer “show time” but the guys they are bringing in are too old and the core guys they still have don’t suit it.

    Shaw would have been a more natural coach to choose 2 years ago with their core guys and mixing in a few veterans. But with rebuilding the team an imminent reality perhaps MDA is the best coach for the vision going forward.

  63. Robert

    Perhaps your standards are lower then mine but Kobe is not one of the greatest 3 point shooters in NBA history. He is 33% lifetime and 32% last year. While he does get into a zone from time to time those numbers by NBA standards are considered low end mediocre. Teams would love it if Kobe just parked himself outside the 3 point line. They would give him the 3 all night long. (Side note Metta was better then Kobe from distance last year and for his career) Same goes for Jamesion. While Meeks was better then average for his career, last year he was average and only because he shot the 3 well in the first half of the season. Nash and Blake were the only two guys that hit a great percentage but they both missed a ton of games and rarely were on the floor together. As for Pau, he is a good shooter for a 7 footer but teams give him the long jumper.

    Now if you want an example of what this means, just go back and watch some of the games. Count the number of guys in the paint when it goes inside. We haven’t spread the floor well since the championship runs and the results speak for themselves.

  64. Michael,

    The Spurs might win, but Memphis sent game two into overtime on the road and are in the Western Conf. Finals. Not bad for a team that lacks floor spreaders.

    Jesse,

    Phil had cancer in his final year, and Kobe’s knee was so bad, he was unable to practice for most of the year. He was basically playing on one leg, and not even close to the player he has been the past two seasons after Phil. I think Phil deserves a pass.

  65. Michael H is correct here, and the FO thinks so as well–that is why they wanted Kapono, and Meeks, and, to a lesser extent, Jamison.

    Also, I have posted these numbers before, but:

    The Lakers were 3rd in the NBA in 3-point attempts
    The Lakers were 19th in the NBA in 3-point percentage

    The Lakers took 297 more 3s than the opponents did; that is a core element of the MDA philosophy. Overall, the Lakers attempted 6640 FGs, and their opponents attempted 7180–the highest figure in the NBA. They made up for it by attempting 700 more FTs than opponents.
    And, as noted many times, they were 5th in Pace Factor–although that number was dropping towards the end.

    The main problems with this combination of numbers and the Lakers’ personnel were visible both in the numbers and with the eye test: transition and perimeter D.

  66. Michael H “Perhaps your standards are lower then mine ” Well that is a first on this board

    Darius/rr: See – I am not so entitled. Michael H says I need to raise my standards : )

    Spreading the Floor: It is about respect for the guy at the 3 point line. Nobody wants to leave Nash or Kobe open at the three point line, and you can’t give AJ or Pau the mid range jumper. We should have all we need to spread the floor. The fact that we hoisted a million threes was just bad offense combined with the fact that we were behind too often. I agree we could use another shooter and some athletic guys, but there was no reason why the existing group could not spread the floor. We simply did not execute.

    rr: I am sure you agree – Kapono may not be the best guy to use to support any position unless you are part of the FODS : )