Friday, June 18, 2010

NBA Real Talk: Where Phil Jackson Signs > Where LeBron Signs

One thing rings true in every NBA-related conversation I have with die-hard basketball fans, Phil Jackson is not to be effed with as a coach. People don't like Kobe. People don't like LeBron. But everybody seems to like and respect Phil Jackson. Why? Because Phil is that dude. Phil Jackson is in a category all by himself when it comes to basketball coaches that have been coaching since the year I was born (you are a fool if you think I'm gonna list the year). Jerry Sloan has had longevity and deserves a mention but you know what he doesn't have, an NBA title (and the sad part is he won't get one). Phil's got like a baker's dozen of them shyts (not really a baker's dozen, but close)!!!

Phil just capped off a second season in a row of winning a title with arguably the best player in the game (definitely the most hated superstar player) and a supporting cast of 2 all-star caliber players (Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol), 1 old guy with a ridiculous amount of heart and resolve (Derek Fisher), and a young kid that may blossom into a pretty good center some day that happens to be like 7 feet tall (Andrew Bynum). The Lakers starting 5 couldn't get much better than it is right now considering salary cap restraints in the NBA. It's not like they're going to go sign Wade, LeBron, Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, Bosh, or another one of the big names this off-season AND still be able to keep the nucleus they have. Phil's got nothing left to prove with this team other than they can win a 3rd title in a row.

This would be a great challenge and is the primary reason I think Kobe will go so far as to beg Phil to stay (will he offer to eff him in the A is the question b/c you know how Kobe rolls and Phil's a lil too "Zen" sometimes...Yes, I'm a Kobe-hater). But I think there's a much more interesting scenario that I'd like to see play out, and partly because I'm a huge fan of that guy from Akron.

What if Phil Jackson signed-on to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers?

I don't think I've heard any commentator mention this yet so either I'm uninformed about some reason he can't/won't go to Cleveland, or I need to apply for a job at ESPN. Think about it...
  1. LeBron would come back FOR SURE because Phil is a gigantic upgrade from Mike "Can't Figure Out the Proper Rotation" Brown and would immediately give LeBron a coach he could trust without second-guessing. Phil's a proven coach and LeBron's coachable so my assumption is that LeBron would be fine with doing whatever Phils says because it's obviously worked.

  2. Phil would have the opportunity to have coached the 3 greatest players of my lifetime and take them all to at least 1 championship. Imagine 10 years from now when they're talking about the greatest coach ever and they say he coached Michael, Kobe, and LeBron to NBA titles. Seriously, that would be amazing! Three sure-fire Hall of Famers and 3 of the best 10 basketball players of all-time (assuming LeBron doesn't get injured, fall off a cliff athletically, or let his mother's scrumpet tendencies screw up his life). Phil's legacy would be completely cemented and we'd probably not see another coach pull that off, eVAR!

  3. Phil would also have the chance to build a supporting cast around LeBron the same way he did with Michael in Chi-Town and Kobe in L.A. I'd argue that Kobe's supporting cast is better than what Mike had back in the day and also what LeBron has had since he came into the league. People don't seem to realize just how good Pau Gasol was in Memphis and how Lamar Odom's versatility creates nightmare match-ups even when he is as inconsistent as he is (you've still gotta account for him). And throw in Bynum as another tall guy on the block and that's more trouble to deal with. Then add Mr. Fake-Azz Queensbridge (Ron Artest) to the mix and you've got a defender who can give the best swingmen in the league a tough time. That team is LOADED! Imagine Phil taking a year or two or three to build that in Cleveland and also helping LeBron mature as a basketball player (just like he helped Kobe).
All this makes me feel that the question of where Phil ends up (that is, if he is actually gonna consider leaving) is FAR more interesting than where LeBron will end up. It's been shown that neither Kobe nor LeBron could do it by themselves. Kobe needed the cast he has now and LeBron needs a better supporting cast. M.J. had Scottie (ummm yeah, that's pretty much it people). No disrespect to John Paxson, BJ Armstrong, Craig Hodges, Steve Kerr, Bill Cartwright, Horace Grant, Tony Kukoc, or whoever else you name, but collectively (over 6 championship years)they do NOT compare to the talent of this year's Lakers. Michael Jordan is the greatest of all time because he willed those guys to win and that team played like a well-oiled machine (thanks to Phil).

The common denominator in all this however, is Phil Jackson. In my mind he's without argument the greatest coach ever at this point and he's still young enough to coach for more years should he choose to do so. He's gonna get paid a ridiculous amount of money no matter where he goes so it's going to be about a challenge for him. Whether the challenge of another championship in L.A. is more intriguing than building a winner elsewhere is something we'll see in a few months. I hope Phil elects to take the road less traveled because that's damn sure the one that leads to Cleveland. I can already see the "PhilBron" and/or "LeJackson" signs at the Q, lol.

P.S. - The one wrinkle in my theory is that Phil's girl is Jeannie Buss, daughter of Laker's owner Jerry Buss. I'm sure she could find a way to influence him, lol.


Daneger said...

Phil has already been asked about going to Cleveland and said he isnt thinking about that stuff yet but Cleveland still has plans to offer him the job. Byron Scott is waiting to see what Phil does because he wants the LA job if Phil leaves and is next on Clevelands list if Phil doesnt go there. As far as your other comments in this blog, I will refrain from comment.

miKeSee said...

Cleveland would definitely be idiots not to offer him the job. I don't know why but Byron Scott just seems like a joke as a coach to me. I know he's had some success but he just doesn't seem like the type of guy teams would want.

M.C. said...

I can't even remember the comment I was originally going to make because you think this Laker team is better than any of the Bulls former teams! All MJ had was Scottie? You do realize they set an NBA record at 72-10? You also realize NO OTHER TEAM HAS DONE THAT! Come on Mike! I'm just going to fall back off of this one, because I see you're biased.

miKeSee said...

I'm not biased, YOU ARE! Lol.

If you think that the cast Kobe has around him is not better than what Mike had around him for those championship runs, you are CRAZY! Seriously, Gasol, Odom, and Artest are all-stars. Aside from Mike and Scottie, who else (except for Kukoc) on those Bulls teams was in contention every year to be on the all-star team?

I'll wait...

Still waiting...

*looks at watch*

Yeah, that's what I mean. Gasol is probably in the top 5 centers in the game right now and he's technically a power forward on this team to make room for another 7-footer. Oh yeah, that's 3 7 footers in their starting line-up (Odom who is 6'10" which is basically 7 feet tall, Gasol, and Bynum). Jordan had Bill mothereffing CARTWRIGHT! I refuse to believe that the Bulls supporting cast was better than what Kobe has now. REFUSE! I don't care how many games they won.

And 72-10 was an amazing run, but teams have come relatively close since then with 60+ win seasons. But nowadays the regular season doesn't seem to mean as much (ie - Cavs) so even if a team did go for 70+ wins you don't know how truly dominant they are until they get in the post-season.

Again, I am not biased. You have the Bulls-bias so you may have trouble seeing my points or agreeing with them.

M.C. said...


"Gasol is probably in the top 5 centers in the game right now..."
He is? I could have sworn he was a forward, and that there was no confusion on that.

Don't get me wrong. I rooted for the Lakers in this Finals series. BUT...their team is lacking too. Gasol, while he is a smooth shooter and has decent passing skills, he isn't in my top ten centers or forwards in the game. Not even sure he would break my top 20.

Am I biased? Of course, but the history of those MJ championship teams is too strong not to be.

For two, almost three seasons in a row, the Bulls boasted the top 3 three-point shooters in the league (Paxson, Armstrong, Hodges). Craig Hodges broke Larry Bird's All-star 3-point record.

The Bulls may not have had a load of superstars, but hands down, at that time, they had the best role players in the game. (Kukoc, Harper, Levingston, King, Rodman, Kerr) to name a few. Either way, it's not about having a team full of "alleged All-Stars". The Lakers had that before Jackson came to coach them, and they were barely making the playoffs.

It's about having the right mix of players who just so happen to play very well together. In comparing these teams, to me, the Bulls win that hands down, which in essence makes them the better team.

Besides setting records, never having to play a game 7 and those role players ALWAYS stepping up when they had to, the inconsistency of Gasol and Odom makes this argument moot. And outside of Game 7, Artest was just a defensive slower downer.

You did make some good points, but on this I'm not swayed.

miKeSee said...

I completely understand why your bias won't allow you to be swayed. I'll try to make this quick...

1. Gasol is a Forward for the Lakers ONLY because Bynum is ridiculously tall as well. In Memphis, Gasol was a center and one of the most under-rated centers at that time b/c he played for sorry azz Memphis. Gasol comes to the Lakers and joins another 7 footer and someone has to be center. And because Gasol is a better passer and has better all-around basketball acumen, he plays PF because Phil can trust him in the Triangle Offense. If he's not in YOUR top 10 or 20, that's cool. But I'd like to see you name 10 centers that are better than him right now. I'd bet you can't even list 5 that are better. Who ya got? Dwight Howard, Amare Stoudemire, maybe Yao when he's healthy, and who else? Shaq? Hell no! Camby? Hell no! Bogut? Hell no! Chandler, Kaman, Al Horford? Seriously...YOU MUST BE SMOKING CRACK! Pau is definitely better all-around than Stoudemire and is better offensively than Dwight. Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

2. I will admit that I forgot about Dennis Rodman being on those Bulls championship teams but I still don't think they compare. You are biased as a Chicagoan, it's ok I can live with that.

3. I understand that the bulls had the best/better "TEAM" and best role players but I'm comparing talent per player to talent per player. There's no argument who was the best team.

M.C. said...

I respect your opinion. But the only argument I have seen you make is regarding Pau Gasol. Besides Kobe Bryant, that's ONE player! One player isn't better than a whole team or teams that have won time and time again.

Even if I agreed with you 100%, history doesn't lie. Bulls have a 6-2 edge over this current team. I'll wait and see.

And let's stop talking bias. I feel as though you feel me being a Chicagoan is the ONLY reason I think the Bulls are a better team. I may take offense to that, considering my acumen for sports in general. I mean I know you may not have these type of debates with "girls," but...nevermind.

miKeSee said...

Gender has nothing to do with this conversation. It'd be the same from me whether you are a guy or girl.

I have said from the initial blogpost that Gasol, Odom, and Artest are better than what Mike's players were. I spoke specifically on Gasol because you made an outlandish comment about him not being in your top 20 centers.

I agree that history does not lie and I agree that the Bulls deserved all 6 of those rings and are one of the greatest teams of all time.

I also think that the team that surrounds Kobe is better in terms of sheer talent than the teams Mike had. Whether or not these Lakers win 6 remains to be seen. But if they do, then maybe you'll believe me. Funny thing is, I am nowhere near a Lakers fan.

I think you're bias because you are an NBA fan from Chicago that lived through Jordan winning 6 championships. Yes, I do. But I also respect your opinions as well with the exception of that Gasol not in your top 20 comment lol. That almost disqualifies you from saying you have NBA acumen, imo.