Monday, May 9, 2011
The Lakers Have Some Time To Think
Sunday, the wheels came off what may go down as the most unmotivated attempt to repeat as NBA Champion. The Lakers played all year like a team that could turn it on when they needed to. Against New Orleans, this was a sound strategy! Dallas, not so much. Peja Stojakovic played to exorcise demons that had haunted him since Sacramento's near-miss, and JET simply knew where to be, every time. Amazingly, Dirk has found the balance that eluded him all of his career. He knows when to shoot, when to drive, and when to let his teammates take over. For all the ridicule heaped on Mark Cuban and his fantasy teams, the Mavs have become a beautiful thing.
That is a story but not the story. The story is that Phil Jackson will be returning to Montana to do whatever it is he does there! Let's forgo the normal "Is it for real?" speculation because, well, there is no answer for that. Every indication is his retirement is sincere (until the Knicks job comes open mid season.) Instead of predicting what he will do, I would rather credit him for being the most effective coach in the history of the NBA via his dickishness. Sincerely! Being incredibly self involved prepared Phil for his work very well. He is not a regular nice person, and the people he manages are not, for the most part, regular nice people. It worked really well. Good for him!
But anyone who thinks it's a good idea to take that job and fill his seat should check themselves lest they wreck themselves. Their team is ancient and only getting older, loaded with expensive mistakes and question marks. Kobe is still really really good but not so good that he can conceal the team's shortcomings. Remember when they traded Shaq and Jerry Buss was touching himself thinking about having pious shoe polish head in LA? It'll be like that. Everyone in their right mind will turn down the job, and then an NBA institution with serious health problems will take over. Larry Brown with a gaping wound? Cheryl Miller with shingles? Raef LaFrentz with rug burn? All possibilities!