The vast majority of Lakers fans wanted the front office to hire back the coach who helped the Lakers win five championships in a decade when Mike Brown was fired very early into last season. They wanted Phil Jackson; their chants at Staples Center echoed their desire.
So, it was a bit of a head-scratcher when Mike D’Antoni was the one hired, especially when Phil Jackson was within arm’s reach of returning to his thrown on the sidelines. Jackson has something with the fans that most coaches can’t possess in their entire career, trust. Maybe having Phil wouldn’t have guaranteed a title, but the fans would trust Jackson to steer the ship to get them there again.
Appearing on The Heard with Colin Cowherd today, Phil Jackson echoed that sentiment by stating that he indeed knows just how to steer the ship by knowing what the Lakers need to accomplish to fix their problems. Jackson had the following to say about his former team:
I think they need to get back inside. That’s where the strength of their team is.
They picked the path to go on, and they think it’s the future of the NBA. We’ll see.
It bothers me that Pau had a season where he had so much difficulty. It bothers me that Kobe had a season where he had to push himself to the limit, playing 40-plus minutes.
It bothers me that a guy at the level of Dwight Howard looked human, less than human at times. That’s the biggest thing about coaching – you want players to thrive.
Before the demand for Phil to return as the Lakers’ coach boils over, it seems that it is very unlikely for him to return to coaching anywhere. Right now, he seems to be interested in experiencing a new and different aspect of basketball, the front office.
He did say that if the Lakers asked him to help, he would ask and suggest one of his former assistants to fill their need. But for now, Jackson will continue to promote his book while Mike D’Antoni leads the Lakers. Whether or not L.A. will regret their decision to hire D’Antoni over Jackson is still yet to be determined.
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