LA Lakers: Phil Jackson’s Message Lost on Players

After losing to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, and after repeated struggles this season, it is apparent the Lakers have a problem. No, Kobe Bryant is not it problem. Nor is Pau Gasol. Derek Fisher. Ron Artest. Lamar Odom. No, none of the players are a problem individually, although certainly a number of players haven't brought-it to every game.

No, Phil Jackson is the problem. Well, not so much Phil per se, but his message. It is getting lost on the players.

After a certain number of years the message of successful coaches starts getting lost upon the team. Look at the great teams, those with long runs of excellence, you'll see that much like aging players a coaches message also begins to age. This does NOT mean that a coach is less effective - just that their message becomes less effective towards that particular collective group of players.

Much like Red Auerbach towards the end of the '60s Celtic runs, Pat Riley during Laker Showtime days (not so much Jackson in Chicago because GM Jerry Krause's ego was too big, he started believing his GM skills were superior to Michael Jordan's talent, so that great Bulls team had the curtain pulled down for them).

Great coaches, the greatest of the greats, have an innate sense that their time has come, that is why Jackson has been pretty adamant about this being the end of his Laker run. Win or lose. He sees the writing on the wall.

In addition, the triple-post offensive system the Lakers have been running under Phil lost a powerful voice when Tex Winter left the team a few years back. Winter was the architect and creator of the triangle, now you see little of the offense unless Fisher brings up the ball and initiates it and then only fleetingly, or on the backup squad who seem to stay truer to it a lot more than the starters.

Bryant literally becomes a player-coach much of the time, much like Magic Johnson was at t...

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