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Figuring Out the Zen Master (aka Phil Jackson)

 
 
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 12:12 pm
From the L.A. Times:

Phil Jackson Does Nothing Very Well
T. J. Simers

Quote:
We probably won't know who has been actually coaching the Lakers this series until Phil's next book is published.

Right now the best we can do is offer congrats to Coach Phil & Coach Kobe... it's very confusing at times who is in charge around here, especially the way Kobe has been playing.

Sometimes he's working his teammates into the game, sometimes taking on the Magic all by himself and whatever -- usually a surprise to Phil which way it's going to go.


Quote:
what has it been like coaching a headstrong player like Kobe, who doesn't mind grabbing the big moment with an eye on doing it all by himself?

The way it looks to so many others, and apparently Mourning as well, "Phil doesn't have to do anything but call timeouts. Kobe is the facilitator. He is the one driving the mission of this particular team right now."


Quote:
It makes you wonder if there's any reason to give Phil a ring when this thing is over, or is that really the genius in coaching the Lakers, allowing Kobe to act at times as if he is in command?


Quote:
On the verge of being sized for yet another ring, Phil obviously has a knack for working with headstrong, gifted athletes, and have you noticed the softening in Kobe's demeanor the last few games? It has been striking.

It's no longer Kobe, the angry, determined competitor out to win it all by himself, but now the basketball player coming across as almost human like everyone else in a Lakers uniform.

No question he's different now from where he was when this series started, history suggesting it's probably the Zen Master at work again -- his calmness wearing off on others, and at the same time making it almost appear as if he's doing nothing.

And no one does nothing better than Phil.
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panzade
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 12:14 pm
@Shapeless,
Winning is a lot easier when your opponent misses 2 free throws with 11 seconds to go...AND has a 3 point lead!
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 12:19 pm
The ones deserving of rings are the refs - they completely run the game and the NBA really shouldn't be considered an unbiased sport until they reform the essentially corrupt referee system.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 12:39 pm
@panzade,
Quote:
Winning is a lot easier when your opponent misses 2 free throws with 11 seconds to go


Indeed, or missing 15 free throws overall. Man, that really came back to haunt them.

I winced just watching the Magic struggle to inbound the ball at the end of the 4th period and the overtime as well. It was like watching a puppy getting poked with a stick.
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kickycan
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 12:49 pm
I also noticed that Phil doesn't seem to be telling the players much in the huddles that any idiot in the stands couldn't say. "Stop them! They're driving! Stop them!" and "Take better shots" are some of the pearls I've heard when they've gone to him during the time-outs. I have been wondering whether this is just an older Phil who is losing his gift for communicating but having his players make up for it by just being great at what they do or if he's always been a dunce who just had the good fortune to always have great players who knew what to do without being told.

He's like a cheerleader at this point. He's no Red Auerbach, that's for sure.
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 12:56 pm
@kickycan,
Do you think this Phil Jackson is different from the old Phil Jackson? What I remember from the sound clips of him in the Chicago huddles was pretty similar: "We need to get in rhythm, we need more penetration, etc."

Then again, I remember he'd occasionally say something like, "We need someone to step up and score," which seemed like code for "Michael, you have free rein to take over. Everyone, jump on Michael's coattails for now." Does Phil do this for Kobe as well?
kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 01:02 pm
@Shapeless,
Now that you mention it, I don't seem to recall him saying anything so stunningly brilliant back then either.

But then again, maybe I'm being too hard on the guy. He did make the call to take the ball out from the backcourt at the end of regulation last night, which turned out to be the biggest play of the game. Van Gundy blew that play completely, but still, Phil out-coached him there and it ended up giving them a chance to win.

So maybe it's his strategic decisions more than his communication with the players that makes him the great coach that a lot of people think he is. But mostly I think he's just always had great players to coach.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 01:11 pm
@kickycan,
I do think there's some psychology there as well. Especially in terms of making great solo players into team players. There's an element of jujitsu -- not lording over them or whipping them into shape, but molding situations so that THEY figure out, on their own, that they need the "supporting players" if they're gonna win. While simultaneously keeping their egos intact to the point where they're able to do their superstar magic when its needed.
kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 01:26 pm
@sozobe,
Yes, that is true. I do think, however, that there are a lot of coaches that, given the same teams Jackson had over his career, would have had those nine championships as well. No way to prove that, but he had the greatest winner of all time on his Bulls teams, and he had Kobe AND Shaq on his other championship teams.

As far as coaching in general, he's never had to build a shitty team into a winner. He's always been surrounded by supremely talented players. That's why I think his abilities are not at nearly the level that his record suggests.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 01:27 pm
@Shapeless,
I was wondering about this last night when I saw Kobe leading a late-game huddle before Phil came in to say his piece.

I still think Phil is one of the best coaches ever in the NBA, I don't buy that he's just a bench warmer.
Region Philbis
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 01:44 pm
@Robert Gentel,

he prolly does his best coaching at practice, on off days, getting into his players' heads.
he's tried off-beat things like meditation, or having the team read a particular book.
his methods are unconventional to say the least.

he's also had arguably the best assistant coach at his side -- tex winter, inventor of the triangle offense...
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 01:48 pm
@sozobe,
Quote:
not lording over them or whipping them into shape, but molding situations so that THEY figure out, on their own


That is definitely part of Phil's style, though I noticed it more with Chicago than L.A. When his team falls behind by double-digits, he often gives them a chance to work themselves out of the hole before calling a time-out. I guess that's what he did last night--doing only as much coaching as necessary to keep the score close, trusting his players to take care of the rest, which they did.

Region Philbus wrote:
he's also had arguably the best assistant coach at his side -- tex winter, inventor of the triangle offense...


I also think this has been central to Phil's success. It's also been the source of a lot of his head-butting with Kobe.
0 Replies
 
kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 09:59 pm
Well, whether he's a genius or he's just been blessed with the greatest players of his era, he's got TEN championships now. What a great achievement. I like this Laker team. I was glad for Kobe. The guy is the best in the game.

And even though he'll never win a championship as long as he's with the Magic, Dwight Howard is going to be one of the greats as well. Yep, I think he's definitely going to have a couple championships under his belt once Orlando trades him to the Knicks. Knicks in '12!
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2009 05:57 am
@kickycan,
Ten, wow.

I still don't like Kobe though.
0 Replies
 
 

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