2. Jackson’s Relationship with Kobe Bryant
Following the 2004 season, Kobe and Phil’s relationship resembled that of a bitter divorced couple. It was no secret that Kobe, in the prime of his career, wanted a team to call his own. After a painful 2004-2005 season that ended in the first Laker playoff miss in eleven years, fans everywhere exhaled a breath of relief with Phil’s return for the 2005-2006 season. The relationship between the two has since become a thing of beauty; Kobe’s maturing leadership and immersion into the triangle coupled with Phil’s mastery of allowing players to work through difficult game scenarios has become a two-headed monster that few teams have been able to counter.
It has become so blatantly clear in the past two championship runs through on-court embraces and media sessions that the two have come to rely on each other for success, much like Phil and Michael in Chicago during the 1990’s. With Kobe’s cold-blooded basketball personality, he trusts no one person more than he does Phil, and has said so numerous times in the past two weeks. A healthy Kobe plus an always composed Jackson could be the only thing that brings another three-peat to Los Angeles.
3. His Implementation of the Triangle Offense
For the past few seasons, the Lakers have been nothing less than an offensive juggernaut. Opposite of common “run and gun” strategies that are implemented by teams like the Suns, the Lakers are methodical in their attack when in a half-court set. A long time student of famous triangle architect Tex Winter, Phil excels with teaching the triple post and it’s obvious in every game. This offense is widely known as being one of the hardest to master, yet Phil has. His title teams in Chicago and Los Angeles are testaments of how an accomplished triangle thrives above all other styles, but its intricacies could prove to be a headache to any new coach and could reflect on the Lakers’ performance.