Phil Jackson on Mike D'Antoni Hiring, Los Angeles Lakers' Future
The Los Angeles Lakers began the 2012-2013 NBA season with much hype surrounding the squad. Following the acquisitions of point guard Steve Nash and arguably the best center in the league, Dwight Howard, the Lakers were considered a lock by many going into the year to win the 2013 NBA Finals.
However, the season started off very badly with head coach Mike Brown at the helm, as Los Angeles seemed extremely limited under Brown's newly instituted Princeton offense. Following a 1-4 start to the regular season (as well as an 0-8 preseason mark), Brown was fired on November 8. Rumors that the Lakers would rehire former coach Phil Jackson, who won five championships with the Lakers during his 11-year tenure, were abundant throughout the search.
However, the Lakers instead signed Mike D'Antoni to a three-year contract on November 12 and Los Angeles went into a frenzy.
Allegations of unfair treatment by the Lakers toward Jackson were even thrown around, as it seemed the Hall of Fame coach was practically guaranteed the position.
In a November 10 report, Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times wrote that there was a "95% chance" Jackson would rejoin the organization for a third time.
Nonetheless, D'Antoni overcame the reported odds to fill the Lakers' head coaching vacancy.
Jackson himself has remained mum on the controversial decision until now. Jackson talked about the discussions with the Lakers in a brief interview with TMZSports.com, as well as the Lakers' prospects this season.
And he dispelled rumors of unfair treatment by the Lakers.
"Well, we never discussed any terms so there was never anything that was unfair. It was just a midnight kind of coup." The interviewer interrupted Jackson, asking, "That happened kind of fast?" To which he replied, "Yeah, it was kind of weird."
He was also asked about his chances of possibly coaching another team in the future, although Jackson bluntly answered that inquiry: "You know, the chances are slim and none and I really wasn't looking to coach again... but that one just came about."
When asked about the adjustments the Los Angeles Lakers need to make this season, Jackson stressed the need for improved three-point shooting from Jodie Meeks.
Jackson also said that shooting guard Kobe Bryant will have to "temper it a little bit in that style but he'll be alright," referring to Los Angeles' new fast-paced offensive style used by D'Antoni.
The Lakers have dramatically improved since Brown's firing, as they have posted a 6-3 record since his dismissal.
Interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff posted an impressive 4-1 mark, while D'Antoni is responsible for a 2-2 record.
The Lakers offense has been vastly improved under D'Antoni's system, as Los Angeles has averaged 102.6 PPG compared to a modest 97.2 PPG during five regular-season games under Brown this season.
It will be intriguing to see how the Lakers perform this season under D'Antoni, and Phil Jackson definitely made some interesting comments and observations about the Lakers in his first public comments outside of a statement since the D'Antoni hiring.
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