Thursday, May 27, 2010

This is why Phil Jackson is one of the greatest coaches ever

(Photo from Yahoo)
This is why Jackson needs more than one coach of the year award. Phil Jackson knows what he is doing. Let's take it back to the last minute of the game:

Play By Play

Nash scores with 1:21 bring the Suns to within 3. Lakers lead 101-98.

Derek Fisher passes to Ron Artest with 8 seconds left on the shot clock where he misses a top of the key jumper (wide open) with 1:02 left.

Pau Gasol offensive rebound, passes to Artest at the left wing 3 pointer, shoots a 3 with 22 seconds on the shot clock with 57 seconds left, Channing Frye rebounds.

Steve Nash crosses half court, calls time out.

Out of the time out, Frye misses a 3 pointer, Odom rebounds, 40 seconds left.

Kobe Pau Pick and roll but Pau misses the dunk, Jason Richardson rebounds, 21 seconds left.

Steve Nash comes up and takes a pull up 3 pointer (he'd been hitting shots off the dribble all night) Odom challenges but doesn't box Nash out, Nash gets his own rebound, passes to Jason Richardson, misses a 3 pointer from left wing, Channing Frye rebounds, passes to Richardson again at the top of the key for 3, banks it home. Tie Game 101-101, 3.5 seconds left. Time out LA

Inbound to Kobe, airballs a highly contested double teamed 3 pointer but Ron gets the rebound and lays it in as he falls away, game winner. Lakers up 3-2.

What Phil Jackson did (and does) so great:

After that 3 pointer off of Pau's offensive rebound with 22 seconds left on the shot clock, and Frye rebounds and calls a time out, a dejected Ron Artest goes to the bench. Phil Jackson instead of getting up from his high chair to talk with the assistant coaches as he always does every timeout, he waits for Ron to get there. Ron sits next to him, doesn't make eye contact with Jackson, but Jackson talks to him. I didn't hear what was said, but it didn't look like Jackson was chastising him. He didn't get in his face, he didn't yell, he let him not look him in the eye.
He keeps Ron Artest in the game.

On the floor at the time was Fisher, Kobe, Ron, Lamar, and Pau (starters minus Bynun plus Odom). Phil could have easily replaced Artest and no one would question it. You take a bad shot with that much time on the clock that could cost your team the game, that could cost your team the series... you're a detriment while on the floor. Instead, Phil trusted Ron. Kept him on the floor. He Could have inserted Luke Walton who has a high basketball IQ (just no athletic ability to showcase it). Could have inserted Jordan Farmar who makes his 3 pointers and free throws and also has a high basketball IQ. Could have inserted Bynum who could get offensive board and knows automatically to throw it to Kobe or Lamar or anyone except dribbling.

Ron knew it was a bad shot. But his coach believed in him. His teammates got behind him and didn't freeze him out. They huddled as the timeout was ending, slapped him on the ass and got back out there.

Kobe gets the ball with 3.5 seconds left. Airball, Jason Richardson is bodied out of the way by Artest who catches the ball and puts in the game winning layup and runs into Kobe's arms who embraces him back. Lakers win 3-2.
Why'd he keep him in? Jackson's Post game interview: "He just has a knack for being around crucial plays." Jackson also mentioned Artest's steal on Nash that helped spurt their lead runaway during the game that ballooned to 17 (only for the Lakers to give it up later). No X's and O's, just game situation management. He also said that after the congratulating, their was a discussion with Ron Artest. He didn't put him on blast. Didn't even offer any details. He didn't need to. We know what he said: something along the lines of, be aware of the clock, understand the situation etc. End of story, congrats on winning the game for us.

Phil knows these players better than any sports writer, fan, twitterer, etc. That's why he's worth $12 million a year. That's why he has 10 championship rings, could be getting his 11th. That's why he doesn't bench Derek Fisher in place of Farmar or Shannon Brown (Fisher: 11 ppg at 46% in the playoffs compared to 7.5 ppg at 40% during the season).

Coach of the Year Award

Instead the Coach of the year award goes to guys who end up getting fired 2 years later when they don't win a championship. Seriously: Hubie Brown-Memphis, Avery Johnson-Dallas, Sam Mitchell-Toronto, Byron Scott-New Orleans, Mike Brown-Cleveland. We'll see where Scottie Brooks-Oklahoma is in two years. Only in that span of COY's, Larry Brown's Pistons, Gregg Popovich's Spurs, and Phil Jackson's Lakers were winning the championships. But hey, what do I know? A lot less than Phil Jackson for sure.

So if you're a Laker fan and you're upset that the Lakers are on the wrong side of a 12-2 run and Phil Jackson doesn't call a timeout, remember that you're yelling at one of the greatest coaches of all time.

1 comment:

Kobe>Lebron said...