After firing Mike Brown on Friday, the Lakers were expected to go after big name coaches to take over the reigns of the Lakers. Names like Jerry Sloan and Mike D’Antoni were thrown around as popular choices. However, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak may have had a man in mind all along…the legendary Phil Jackson.
Phil Jackson’s tenure in Los Angeles ended after being swept by the soon to be champion Dallas Mavericks in the 2010-11 playoffs. Jackson wasn’t fired of course, he had spent a lot of time the prior off-season considering his health and desire to continue coaching. He ultimately decided that he would give one last shot at a title and ride off into the sunset as one of the most successful coaches in NBA history. He stayed true to his word and retired even when many thought that the extremely competitive Jackson would have too much of a bad taste in his mouth to retire after that playoff sweep.
There is no need to go on and on about his accomplishments other than his amazing 11 championships and 1155-485 career record. That’s an astonishing 70.4% winning percentage over an amazing 20 seasons coaching for the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. He has coached some of the greatest players in league history and has always taken optimal advantage of the talent of those players.
Jackson has never been known as an X’s and O’s guy, more of a master motivator, and yes maybe master manipulator. Phil will certainly re-install his version of the famed Triangle Offense. But, his speciality is with the players, not with the clipboard. He has been allowed to walk away from the Lakers and re-hired once before and found a way to get Kobe Bryant back on his side. Even after writing a book that took its fair share of shots at Kobe. Once again, the Lakers will realize that Phil Jackson is the secret to their success. They need a coach that can take these big personalities and mold them into a team first attitude using a scheme that accentuates their abilities. Kobe, Howard and Nash have shown that they are willing to be self-less, but the system has to take advantage of that instead of just accommodating it.
Jackson has retired more than once, but a man with his body of work certainly deserves to coach on his terms. Phil will get his terms met one more time. He once said that he would choose Dwight Howard over LeBron James to be a centerpiece and he just might get his wish now. The Lakers and Mitch Kupchak have set their sights square on Phil Jackson and like a pitbull, are not going to let go. I await the official announcement by the Lakers and the uproar on Twitter as soon as the news breaks. Phil Jackson WILL be the next coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Let’s welcome back the Zen-Master.