NBA Rumors: Steps Phil Jackson Would Take to Convert Losing Teams into Winners

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 17, 2012

NBA Rumors: Steps Phil Jackson Would Take to Convert Losing Teams into Winners

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    Phil Jackson has been out of the NBA for a year now, but the league is already missing the presence of one of the sport's greatest minds of all time. 

    That absence might come to an end soon, as Jason Quick of The Oregonian reports that Jackson is interested in joining the Portland Trail Blazers:

    "Phil would be interested in talking about a possible role in the organization,’’ the source close to Jackson said. “My sense is there is a lot Phil can offer by being there, be it handling players, advising trade scenarios, managing coaching staff ... I think he would be a tremendous adviser to the owner.’’

    Jackson would end up being a lot more than just an adviser, even if that's his official title. The guy is too good at making basketball decisions to have a limited role in the franchise's front office. 

    Something tells me that he'd be able to control just about anything he wanted to, whether it's with the Blazers or some other team. 

    Whichever team he lands with, here's how Jackson would be able to convert a losing franchise into a group of winners. 

Year 1: Be Patient and Analyze Own Talent

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    If anybody in NBA history knows how to be patient, it's the Zen Master. 

    The first step for Phil Jackson is easy. Sit back, don't make moves, attend games and practices and evaluate the talent on the roster. 

    It's important for Jackson to know exactly what he's working with. He needs to not only see the highlights and the box scores, but get a feel for who the people on his roster actually are. 

    Talent and personality are both important to Jackson. He doesn't want lazy players who are coasting, but would rather have hard workers. 

    Knowing exactly what he's dealing with is essential. 

Offseason After Year 1: Cut Bait with Dead Weight

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    Its only after a full season with his team that Phil Jackson will begin to cut bait with the dead weight on the roster. 

    Forget about the name recognition. If a star player isn't going to fit in with his system, then he will get rid of them. 

    By all means, let him keep the players he likes. However, if Jackson doesn't want a player on his roster, it's probably for a reason. 

    Jackson can't afford to keep players he feels don't fit in with his system. He has to get rid of them. 

Offseason After Year 1: Give Everyone Books

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    At this point, it's fairly well known that Phil Jackson likes to give his players books to read in the offseason. 

    In a 2006 interview at NBAE Studios in Secaucus, New Jersey, Jackson spoke about the value of his gifts: 

    There's a statement that goes, 'Along with reading an open book, brings an open mind.' So that's one of the reasons why I give them books because books open an avenue to the kind of life that you have to be able to play in the NBA. You're dealing in a totally different environment that you've come from. Sixty percent or so of our players come from a background, the black American background, and all of the sudden are exposed to a very different setting when they come to a NBA situation. Our audience, the lifestyle, the movement, all of those things change dramatically for these kids. And I think they need to have an open mind and expand it and continue their education. That's why I do it. I think it's really important.

    The time for him to give out the books is during his first full offseason in charge of his new team. 

Year 2: Install System

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    Once Phil Jackson has had a chance to evaluate his team for a year and add a few players of his liking, it's time to install his famed triangle system. 

    If that's not going to work, it's time to come up with a new system. I have no doubt that Jackson is a smart enough basketball mind to come up with the perfect system for any team. 

    Whatever he comes up with, the time to do it is in year two. 

    Once more, patience is key here as it always takes players a while to adjust to a completely new system. 

Offseason After Year 2: Add Players Who Fit in with System

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    After a full year with his new system in place, Phil Jackson has to evaluate his roster once more. 

    If anyone doesn't fit in, or is protesting too much, it's time for him to go. I'm talking about the player who doesn't fit in and not Jackson of course. 

    This is also the time to grab players from the trading block and the free agency pool who will fit perfectly into the system. 

    After this, there's only one more step. 

Year 3: Win

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    The title of this slide says it all. 

    After two years of hand picking the players he wants on the team he's helping with, Phil Jackson would no longer have any excuses for failing to win. 

    Everyone should be comfortable in his system by now and have a nice level of cohesiveness. 

    Maybe they can read books about winning it all after the third year.