Could the missing ingredient to a championship for the Miami Thrice be the greatest coach in NBA history?
Or, maybe, there is some truth to the rumors and Jackson might take his talents to South Beach.
Why would the Heat be the next stop for Jackson? Three things: the triangle, experience and respect.
Michael Jordan never won an NBA title until Phil Jackson became head coach of the Chicago Bulls. That partnership resulted in six championships and the all-time record in regular season wins at 72. And, MJ and Jackson won two three-peats.
Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant had been together nearly four years in Los Angeles without a title when Jackson arrived in 1999-2000. The very next June, the Lakers hoisted the first of three straight titles.
Kobe Bryant had been to the top of the mountain and had been all the way back down when Jackson returned to re-coach the Lakers in 2006. The result of the Kobe/Jackson reunion has been three straight Finals appearances and two titles. Another one looms this year.
Jackson’s resume speaks for itself. He’s a winner. And, the old tag that he only won because of great talent no longer sticks. He’s done it too many times to be an accident—11 NBA titles.
The man knows how to coach. His preparation is legendary, which is why during games he sits relaxed, fully in the moment because he’s done all the work prior to the game.
This is why the Heat’s DWade, LBJ and Co. need this experience.
The problem in Miami is ball movement and spacing. Right now, Miami’s offense is predictable and consists of LeBron and Wade (or even Chris Bosh) facing up their man and going at the defense one-on-one.
There is a lot of sitting around and no ball movement. This makes Miami easy to defend. Pack the paint, prevent and swarm and force the Heat into outside shots.
This is why until Miami installs a different offense either by picking up the tempo or installing a ball-movement oriented offense, the Heat won’t go all the way. They are the Miami Lukewarm, not Miami Heat.
Phil Jackson’s vaunted triangle offense is proven. It is built on ball movement and spacing. It is also an equal-opportunity offense. It creates open shots and for any player on the floor.
Miami is also lacking a point guard. Problem solved with the triangle. There really isn’t a traditional point guard, rather a player who initiates the triangle sets.
If three of the best one-on-one players of all time in MJ, Kobe and Shaq can excel in the triangle, so can the Miami Thrice.
The last attribute Jackson would bring to the Heat is the most important: Respect.
Right now, Miami finds itself with a spoiled brat as one of their best players.
Dwyane Wade is all about hard work. He is cut from the killer-instinct mold and hardened under the Pat Riley organization of discipline.
Not LeBron James. He has lived a lifetime of getting things his way, everything handed to him on a silver platter. He has little respect for even the best of coaches, let alone his current one.
Phil Jackson changes all of this. The man exudes confidence, demands respect. His glare alone makes most players shudder.
LBJ is a superstar looking for greatness. He’s also like a child looking for respect, looking for parental boundaries. But, he won’t freely give it. It has to be earned.
Phil Jackson has earned the respect LBJ seeks. Jackson coaching LeBron changes everything, will take his talent to the next level. LeBron is at risk of leaving so much talent on the table, never fully reaching his potential because of not pushing himself.
Jackson will demand and get the highest performance out of LBJ. He changes everything.
While fans are clamoring for Jackson and possibly the biggest calling for him to come to South Beach could be coming from the Heat players themselves, I’ll set the record straight right now.
Not going to happen.
Phil will never coach the Heat. It’s a great fantasy. This amazing, greatest coach of all time going for one last final run with the next generation of NBA royalty in King James and DWade is intriguing.
He won with Michael, won with Shaq and won with Kobe. Then, Phil goes to South Beach. Boy, it sounds good and realistic. Makes all the sense in the world. Expect Phil will retire as the Lakers head coach and then ride off on his motorcycle into the sunset (actually to Montana).
But, this story of Phil going to South Beach is exciting. It’s got Hollywood written all over it.
But it’s just a fantasy—simply fiction.
Check out the new book on Kobe Bryant, The Kobe Code: Eight Principles For Success, An Insider's Look into Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant's Warrior Life & the Code He Lives By, at www.PatMixon.com.