As the search for a new head coach continues, the Los Angeles Lakers continue to be linked with a string of top names.
However, former Lakers champion Lamar Odom believes that the Lakers can find answers by looking to their successes of the past. In a recent interview with TMZ, Odom went on record with who he believes should be the Lakers’ next head coach.
“Phil Jackson, I know can coach LeBron with the triangle offense. I think that would keep LeBron around a little longer. Preserve him a little longer. I would love for Phil Jackson to be the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers,” Odom said.
Phil Jackson, 76, is arguably the greatest basketball coach of all time and had unrivaled success during his last go-round with the Lakers. Under Jackson’s tutelage, the Lakers won four NBA championships between 2000 and 2010, but the game has evolved since then.
Married to The Triangle
With Jackson, you know one thing for certain – he’s going to implement the triangle offense. A tried and tested philosophy, the triangle has led Jackson to eleven NBA championships as a head coach, and helped create some of the league’s most talented superstars.
However, all of the success that Jackson tasted came before the NBA embraced a space-and-pace brand of offense. So, it’s fair to ask if the triangle is robust enough to adapt to the modern game and if stars are willing to learn such a complex system in order to add another championship ring to their collection.
Of course, Carmelo Anthony could re-sign with the Lakers in the off-season and help usher in the new system on the court. Anthony was a member of the New York Knicks when Jackson was the President of Basketball Operations and has been vocal about his time learning the triangle offense…and why it didn’t work for the Knicks.
“We were at a pivotal time in offense, in the game, and the way it was going. Because the triangle, it works – but the game is getting faster. Guys are getting quicker, guys are jumping out the gym, it’s like, we can’t slow it down when we’ve got a fast break,” Anthony told JJ Redick during an episode of The Old Man and the Three Podcast, “It wasn’t hard to learn, but it was hard to execute it because the player personnel wasn’t there. But also, because Phil wasn’t the coach.”
A Long Time Out of The Game
Jackson left his front office role with the Knicks in 2017 and hasn’t been professionally involved in basketball since. By all accounts, the “Zen Master’s” time in New York was a failure, as the team failed to make any significant progress. Of course, during his time in the Big Apple, Jackson faced push-back from his on-court coaching staff, who felt that his assistance on the running triangle offense was hamstringing their opportunities for success.
Still, looking beyond his time as an executive, Jackson hasn’t coached in the NBA for over 12 years and has missed the entirety of the league’s evolution into the high-octane game that we see today. So, while Jackson comes with a winning pedigree and would instantly command success from the Lakers’ most accomplished players, there’s no telling if his methods would succeed in the modern era – or if he’s willing to innovate those methods to fit the current style of basketball.
Jackson is also not a long-term fix coaching hire. And the Lakers would find themselves back in their current position within the next two years, as it’s unlikely the eleven-time championship head coach will want to be coaching as he approaches his eighties.
Still, if the Lakers are hell-bent on giving LeBron James every opportunity of winning another championship, there aren’t many coaches with Jackson’s resume that could start work at a moment’s notice, and that could be an attractive prospect to the front office if they keep striking out on their primary targets.