Legendary Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson is no longer running NBA sidelines, but that is not preventing him from chiming in on his former team.
In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, the 11-time NBA champion talked about various topics ranging from Dwight Howard to his fiancée Jeanie Buss (note: the interview took place before the death of Lakers owner Jerry Buss).
The current state of the Lakers is certainly not worth applauding as the team is 25-29 and not in the top eight in the Western Conference standings. Los Angeles is not living up to expectations and the star players do not feel comfortable in their roles. Dwight Howard has struggled this season and he has not been consistent with his play. Jackson talked about the way Howard and the Lakers have been performing and he offered some advice to the coaching staff.
SI: 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.
Jackson always had dominant big men in his championship runs with the Lakers, including Shaquille O’Neal and a dynamic front court of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in 2009 and 2010. The Lakers are having trouble getting both Howard and Gasol involved in the offense at the same time and there seems to be no chemistry between the two.
There are many instances when Howard is taken out of the flow of the game and essentially ignored on the offensive end. Even though Howard’s post moves need some improvement, the Lakers have to use his strength and size to their advantage by feeding him the ball.