SH Blog: Phil Jackson’s thoughts on Jim Buss, Andrew Bynum, Kobe Bryant and the Heat

Last week, we showed you a snippet of Phil Jackson’s interview with HBO Real Sports, where he claimed he would never have accepted the coaching job of the New York Knicks due to their clumsiness.

Since then, plenty more of the Zen Master’s thoughts on some of the most relevant matters have popped up, from why he ultimately left the Los Angeles Lakers and what he really wanted from Kobe Bryant.

Jim Buss and Phil Jackson had a philosophical difference:

Asked if Jim Buss’ ideas were the right ideas, Jackson replied, “They’re his” – a nice way to say that he does not believe they were the right ideas. It seems perfectly evident that Jackson’s primary reason for leaving the Lakers’ organization had more to do with a difference in opinion with Buss than his personal desire to leave the game. That much is evident, considering the amount of attention he has gotten on the market and his willingness to listen. Jackson did mention in a previous portion of the interview that the game does not suddenly leave a person’s mind, a reference to his age.

What we also learn from the interview is that the main disagreement was largely centered around the usage of Andrew Bynum, the center that Buss discovered. Bynum was never heavily utilized in the triangle offense, and Jackson explained the reasoning behind the move.

“Jim saw Andrew as a kid and thought Bynum was going to be a great pick for our team. But in the process I think he’s wanted to have Andrew to have a bigger and bigger role, and I think he’s hired his coach to have Andrew have a bigger and bigger role. And that kind of disjointed the symmetry of what the Lakers were really about this last year. Andrew is an All-Star Center and he did a wonderful job. But what happened was it took Pau out of his game and it took the team away from some of their game. So they changed the style dramatically.”

Jackson compared LeBron James to Scottie Pippen in the sense that he may be a passer first, but also explained how devastating James can be when he decides to attack. It was important to have and utilize both qualities, which is something Jackson “tried” to instill in Kobe Bryant, perhaps an indication that James may be a better player in his mind.

He’s (James) may be a pass first and shoot second player.  Whereas, you know, Michael or Kobe are like, “I’m gonna shoot this ball.”  Every time they get the ball, they’re looking to score.  LeBron’s not like that and I love that about him, but he also – when he goes after scoring – he’s also terrific.  You want a player that can do both.  I tried to get Kobe to do both for numbers of years, and he could, but his first instinct is to beat the guy that’s in front of him.

And finally, here is what he had to say about the possibility of working with or for Pat Riley, and it should be music to the ears of Heat fans around the globe:

Of course. I mean we both have respect for each other. We’re both basketball-minded guys. That would be no problem. But I’d probably rather have him working for me than me working for him.

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