Phil Jackson Picks San Antonio Spurs Over Miami Heat to Win NBA Finals

Grant HughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 6, 2013

EL SEGUNDO, CA - MAY 11:  Phil Jackson, coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, speaks during his last official Lakers news conference at the team's training facility on May 11, 2011 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers were swept out of their best of seven series with the Dallas Mavericks four games to none. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Call your bookie and get some money down! Phil Jackson thinks the San Antonio Spurs are going to beat the Miami Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals.

Behold the Zen Master at a book signing as he makes his proclamation:

All right, maybe it's less of a proclamation and more of an "I'll just say something to this guy in line to keep the queue moving."

Still, even if his response is a bit brief, it is somewhat surprising that he wouldn't pick the team featuring the league's undisputed best player. I mean, Jackson collected an awful lot of shiny finger ornaments (11 as a coach) by aligning himself with the NBA's top talent.

You'd think LeBron James' presence on the Heat would sway his opinion in that direction.

At the same time, Jackson loves his vets. And the Spurs have plenty of those. Plus, Pat Riley—whom Jackson did battle against during a number of hotly contested Bulls-Knicks series—is running the show in Miami. So maybe Jackson is making his prediction a bit more personal.

Remember, Jackson recently told ESPN he'd take Bill Russell over Michael Jordan if he were starting his own dream team. He made that statement on the basis of Russell's ridiculous run of championships, so perhaps Jackson is merely staying consistent by favoring the Spurs and their four championships over the Heat and their win in last year's finals.

And then there's the possibility that Jackson is playing one of his famous mind games. This is a guy who handed out books to his players, stuck motivational sayings to their lockers and generally went to every other strange extreme to get the best out of his guys. Sometimes, that process involved challenging them or pushing their buttons.

So maybe Jackson actually wants the Heat to win, which is why he said he thought the Spurs would take the title. That kind of ploy might motivate Miami and give it some of that valuable "nobody believes in us" mojo.

Then again, maybe he knew the Spurs would know he was up to something and pulled a double-reverse mind trick.

The Zen Master is wily.

Obviously, I'm reading about 14 levels too deeply into this seven-second clip from a bookstore. In truth, Jackson probably does believe the Spurs, who have lost just two games this postseason, are playing better than the Heat are.

There's a lot of sense in that analysis. San Antonio hasn't really been challenged yet, while the Heat just spent an entire series looking somewhat vulnerable.

Anyhow, I know where I'm putting my money. If a coach with 11 championship rings thinks the Spurs are about to secure their fifth, that's good enough for me.