Phil Jackson On The Miami Heat: Talent Doesn't Trump Teamwork

Benny VargasAnalyst ISeptember 22, 2010

Tell Me Lies...Tell Me Sweet Little Lies.

We knew it was only a matter of time before Colonel Sanders, a.k.a. Phil Jackson, would come out and add his two cents on the Miami Heat's free agent acquisitions.

During an interview with ESPN 1000 in Chicago, Jackson finally opined on the new dominant force that is gaining strength in South Florida.

"They got great talent," Jackson said. "There's no question about [the] talent they have. But, talent doesn't always win. The team that shows the best teamwork will win it.

"We think that [the Lakers] have established something. But, if [the Heat] can unite, and build quickly, they might be able to do it."

Don't let the fake compliment fool you. Jackson is a master at taking subtle jabs without actually coming out and being blunt. Instead, he drops little words here and there. He sends out innuendos, which are open to interpretation.

What Jackson was actually saying is that Miami has talent but won't figure out how to use it in a cohesive manner. He then goes on to say how the Lakers have created a team which Miami is not prepared to beat.

To come off as something other than a disbeliever, he throws out the "they might be able to do it" quote. This is Jackson's way of saying "sure you could do it, but then again, the world could end tomorrow."


Truth be told, Jackson is doing this for two reasons.

One is to try and create some doubt in the mind of Miami's stars.

The other is to bolster his team's confidence in the wake of a "Summer Heatwave," which has swept across the NBA landscape.

Jackson added, "I always refer to when Wilt Chamberlain was traded from Philadelphia to Los Angeles and that put [Elgin] Baylor, [Jerry] West, and Chamberlain together, three of the top scorers in NBA history, and they never won a championship the four years they were together," Jackson said.

Yes, Phil give us more half-truths and skewed facts. While that Lakers team may not have won a title together, it's not an indication of what happens when great talent is accumulated on one roster.

Jackson, more than anyone, should understand that. He after all benefited from having two of the league's top ten players in both Chicago and Los Angeles.

Jackson concluded by saying, "It's not always scorers and talent that wins it. But it's teamwork that does it."

Really, Phil? So if Michael Jordan had been on the Blazers and Sam Bowie in Chicago you would've still won your first six titles? If you had Vlade Divac instead of Kobe Bryant, the Lakers would have gone on to win three straight titles?


Jackson has been blessed with more talent the last 20 years than any coach in the history of the league. He coached the game's best player ever and assisted him with the league's best perimeter defender and the best rebounder.

Then, with the Lakers, he had the league's most dominant center in his prime and paired him up with one of the most gifted players ever to take the court.

For Phil to talk about talent as though it's not important is akin to a cheetah saying it catches its prey because of strategy more than speed. Both may be needed, but it's the God-given ability which makes the main difference.

You think the Colonel sells so much chicken because the KFC crew works better as a group than other fast food poultry establishments?

Of course not it's because of the 20 secret spices. The special recipe is what separates them from the competition and makes them better. Same goes for Miami and their new additions.

Teamwork is the most overrated and talked about aspect of sports. Still, it's just a bunch of hogwash. Talent will always be more important.

Fans all want to believe in something as pleasant as teamwork. It just seems nice, you know a bunch of guys fusing together to make the sum greater than the parts. Well, wake up because it's just a load of junk.


Franchises were lining up to add LeBron James and his talents this offseason, not for Derek Fisher and his team-first mentality.

You can always coach teamwork, you can't coach talent.

If you're still a disbeliever, just take a squad of team oriented players with mediocre skills, and I'll take a roster full of head cases, nut jobs, and ego-driven divas who are much more talented, and beat you each and every time.

Just look at the Utah Jazz under John Stockton and Malone. They had a great coach in Jerry Sloan and played together for 18 years.

They had incredible team work and cohesion. What good did that do for them when they had to take on the more talented Jordan and Scottie Pippen led Bulls?

It's true that the most talented team doesn't always win, but it's an advantage you'll always take over team unity and camaraderie.

That is something Jackson knows in his heart, even if he doesn't admit it.

Come next season, Jackson will one day sit behind a podium. He'll sit there in disappointment because his "team" could not beat the constellation of stars which Miami challenged him with.

While he'll sit there and answer questions explaining why his team lost, he'll feel let down and defeated, but he won't be surprised by the outcome, nor will he be shocked that his teamwork lost to better talent.

Until that day comes just "Tell Me Lies...Tell Me Sweet Little Lies," Phil.