Phil has tied Red Auerbach for 7th all-time for career victories with his 938th win over Jerry Sloan (he’s 4th) and the Utah Jazz last night.
Just wanted to take some time out of my day to appreciate the work has done in LA during his second tour.
For all those who said he couldn’t develop young players ….. look at the constant growth of Andrew Bynum. Jordan Farmar is also coming along brilliantly and Javaris Crittenton is doing well as a rookie. It will be interesting to see how Phil uses Trevor Ariza, so far the returns are great. SVG couldn’t really figure out how to use Ariza and he’s been bopping around unable to really establish himself during the past. Phil recieved a decent number of critics over his wanting to keep Bynum off the court, avoid major minutes to let his body grow so not to stunt his development, but again it’s served Andrew’s growth.
What stands out the most about Phil Jackson is his insistence on developing a bench. Each year he’s been there he has formed a stronger bench. He understands the importance a bench plays and that they have to recieve regular minutes in the rotation. He’s worked guys in like Turiaf, Walton, Farmar, Radmanovic, Mihm, Ariza. Just doing a splendid job. His Laker bench is now in the top 5 amongst benches for scoring, FG%, rebounding and assists …. and it really isn’t that strong of a bench. It’s good but not great.
He also has the complete trust of Kobe Bryant. Kobe has turned from a 35ppg must score the ball star player into a facilitator who aids his teammates. Phil has timed the changes in Kobe’s game to perfection. At the beginning the team needed Kobe to be a Superman scoring wise but with the growth of his supporting cast, Bryant has evolved with them, helped along by the guidance of Phil.
With the many changes the game has gone through over the last 5 years it is also important to note the Triangle offense is still going strong. LA have one of the most efficient offenses in the league despite Kobe being their only major threat.
Phil Jackson ….. the best of coach of his generation.