The return of Phil Jackson was arguably the most important thing on the Lakers’ “To Do List” over the summer. Not just because he has more championship rings than fingers or because he has the highest winning percentage of any coach in NBA history–but because he is the man behind it all. His knowledge of the triangle offense and ability to contain head cases is unparalleled by any coach in NBA history. Without him, the Lakers are still a great team, but they aren’t the favorites to three-peat either.
Keeping the Zen Master on board for another season allows his expected replacement, Brian Shaw, to receive yet another year of coaching experience, which will ultimately set the Lakers up to continue their success, even after Phil calls it quits.
Although it may be the reason Phil loses a couple years off of his life span, the Lakers need him to keep Ron Artest in check. Despite his errant shot selection at times, last season was easily Ron-Ron’s most together and collected season. While that aspect can be attributed to a number of things (i.e. he was seeing a psychiatrist throughout the year), playing for Phil definitely helped him tremendously.
Hopefully this isn’t Phil’s last year on the sidelines, but if it is, it’s for certain that with him calling the shots, there is a very good chance he will end his career with 13 rings to show for it.