What if Phil was coach?

Joseph Park, Sports Editor

The Staples Center roars “We want Phil, we want Phil.” Since November 12, 2012, when the Lakers organization signed coach Mike D’Antoni, everything has gone downhill for the team. Lakers fans, however, assume that if Phil Jackson had been hired instead of D’Antoni, things would have been so much better in LA. That is not the case.

In the beginning of the projected 2012-2013 championship season for the Lakers, the team did not get off to the greatest start. Going 0-8 in the preseason, and starting off the regular season 1-4, the management hit the panic button too soon, firing head coach Mike Brown.

While searching for a new coach, the Lakers narrowed their options down to two choices, Phil Jackson, the 11-time champion, or Mike D’Antoni, a coach who had never reached the finals and does not teach defense. Well obviously, Phil Jackson should be the obvious choice in every Lakers fans’ perspective. However, even if Jackson had coached the Lakers in the 2012-2013 season and was coaching the current season, things would not have been much better.

First off is the injury problem. No matter how much experience or how many championships a coach possesses, he cannot prevent injuries. In the past two years, the Lakers were plagued with the injury bug: Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, you name it. As the Lakers, without the help of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, got swept in the first round by the San Antonio Spurs, fans blamed D’Antoni and dreamed of Jackson. Why? Because Lakers fans needed a scapegoat to feel better about their losses.

Although the Zen Master is famous for stirring up a team and creating chemistry, with the 2012-2013 squad, there was too much bad blood and drama that even the best coach could not have fixed. With Howard acting like an immature 12-year-old child and five-time champion Bryant desperately trying to will his team to the playoffs, the two of them never meshed.  Many Lakers fans are probably reading this screaming about Jackson’s triangle offense and better defensive strategies. With the team composition that they had, D’Antoni was actually the better fit. The triangle offense makes two-time MVP point guard Nash pretty much useless and it requires a big man with post moves, someone the Lakers did not possess. As for the current season, I can’t imagine Jackson coaching this group of guys anyways. D’Antoni’s offense brings out the fullest potential in each player in the Lakers roster. Jackson would require talent on the roster to run his offense while D’Antoni needs less to run his.

In the coming seasons, if the Lakers build a championship roster, there is no doubt that they should have the Zen Master lead the team instead of D’Antoni. However, for the past two season, Jackson, no matter how impressive his history proves, would not have made a big difference in the Lakers’ woes.