Wednesday 24th July 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

Phil Jackson Thinks Only ‘Jesus’ Could Coach These Lakers Successfully

philThis is why we love Phil Jackson.

The Zen Master is honest, sometimes to a point of comedic relief. Unless he’s talking about the Detroit Pistons, of course, who I firmly believe he’s hoping will provide him with a long-awaited front office debut.

When it comes to the Los Angeles Lakers, though, Jackson is an endless supply of comedic insight.

Speaking with USA Today‘s Sam Amick, Jackson offered some unique coaching advice to Tinseltown’s finest:

Q: Did you ever get complete clarity on whose decision it was to back out of what seemed like an agreement (when the Lakers hired Mike D’Antoni in Nov. 2012 after it appeared Jackson was returning)?

A: You know, it was something that has bounced from spot to spot. When I left (the interview), Jimmy was pretty happy about it and Mitch was still saying, “We’re going to keep interviewing people,” and I think the ultimate (decision) kind of rested with Dr. Buss and he made the decision in the hospital the day after. I haven’t chosen to bite on that. I’ve just let that go. I’m real comfortable with it. I don’t have any trouble. I think Jesus could probably coach this team pretty well, but outside of him maybe Mohammed, maybe Gandhi, someone like that.


Unlike most, I’m a Mike D’Antoni advocate. His defensive systems are definitely flawed, but not many coaches are schooled on both sides of the floor. Give him a defensive specialist on the sidelines—not Mike Woodson–and he should be fine.

Well, actually, you need to give him good players too. That’s the key. The Lakers are a no-name convocation at the moment, and it shows. But they’re also entertaining, so give him that. He knows how to take a group of beatniks and make them fun to watch. His small-ball, let-‘er-rip offensive system caters to point guards and volume shooters who could not find a home elsewhere.

But that’s besides the point. D’Antoni can’t save these Lakers. Jackson himself couldn’t save these Lakers. Jesus, though, just might. That dude is known for working miracles, isn’t he?

As for Mohammed and Gandhi, I’m not sure. They’re very keep-the-peace, and Los Angeles really isn’t about keeping the pace. Plus, the Lakers are that bad where they need a miracle worker.

Joking aside, Jackson does have a point.

Jackson also drops an interesting tidbit about the now-deceased Dr. Jerry Buss. Jim Buss was largely blamed for bringing in D’Antoni over Jackson, but the Zen Master fully believes the verdict was ultimately rendered by Dr. Buss himself.

It’s interesting to consider how that decision would have been perceived if Dr. Buss was still alive. He was always viewed as someone who made the right call. Given how much Lakers fans adored him, it stands to reasons they would have been more accepting of both the decision and D’Antoni.

Alas, we’ll never know. Not that it matters. Neither Buss nor Jackson can help the Lakers now. For better or worse, they’re D’Antoni’s team.

Sorry, Jesus.

Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at in addition to

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