Media Day Quotes: Phil Jackson
Here's most of the copy from Phil addressing the press at the close of Media Day. As those of you not living under a rock know (and perhaps even those dwelling beneath rubble, depending on the quality of your wireless internet service), Phil Jackson underwent hip replacement surgery yesterday. The procedure has been reported as a success and the Zen Master said the doctor's forecast was for the head coach to be "walking with pride at the opening night against Phoenix." Here's to hoping this quack knows what's he's talking about. In the meantime, Phil addressed topics ranging from his fear of going under the knife to a brutal Western Conference. Check out what he had to say.
On the situation with his hip
After leaving this last (offseason) and going up to the north county to spend my summer, I had a rather difficult time being mobile. I was capable of swimming and doing some therapy, but I was concerned about my situation. There was a couple family things, issues I had. I had two marriages (of his daughters) this summer and it delayed me from getting back here to L.A. And when I came back to L.A., I did some extensive testing. The decision was that the best possible procedure for some relief from this pain and discomfort and the lack of mobility that I had was a hip replacement operation.
I thought maybe I'd spend a week or so trying to rehabilitate with our trainers here and doing exercises, but things went backwards rather than forwards and I felt, in the best interest of our team and the success of our year, that I'd do it sooner rather than later.
On being nervous about the operation
Of course, anyone would be. I told my orthopedist that I lost a friend one time who died (from) a heart attack while having a hip replacement operation. But my mother went through it. She was successful. She had a successful life living with a hip replacement for twenty-something years, so I do know a lot of success stories. And there's been a wonderful outreach of people in this community and outside this community that have said, "You'll do well and you'll be happy with this."
What motivated him specifically to go ahead with the operation
I think more than anything else, it's been the lack of activity. I've just been sedentary because the discomfort. So instead of doing that little extra thing that you might do, get up and walk down the court and get involved with something, you'd rather not move. I had a situation, too, that happened, that went from not moving to getting off your feet and resting. So I realized that with all that active life that we have in the course of a year, it certainly wasn't boding well for me to have a good experience if I didn't get this done. But there's no single incident, outside of my kids and Jeannie all insisting that I have it now instead of later.
I think most everybody will say it isn't something you wouldn't volunteer to do, so you probably wait until you realize that it's difficult. Am I hardheaded, more determined than the average person? I don't know. I probably am. I probably have to fess up to that.
How practices will be different with Kurt Rambis running them instead of himself
Well, every coach has his own distinctive style and one of the things that you find out in this game is that everybody's style is a little different. Everybody's focus is a little bit different. I like his individuation that he'll bring to this game and to our team. We sculpted practices together for one week. I'll probably be here within a period of a week, at least to observe something. We've all got certain roles in the coaching staff that they're going to help Kurt with this week. Our emphasis is a little different as a team. Last year it was getting into the triangle offense and getting everybody on the same page in the system that we run. This year, we're trying to get focused on what we can do better as a team defensively and using our offensive flexibility, mobility, to the best of our advantage that we have.
On the conundrum of needing a quick start (due to a home-heavy early schedule) and some players not being ready to go right now
Obviously, Kobe's gotta go a little bit slower. Chris Mihm is (recovering) a lot slower than we anticipated. We've had other things happen in this ball club during the course of the summer. Brian Cook had a surgical procedure on a thumb that was broken. Lamar had some extenuating circumstances to him this summer. That's kept us from coming back as perhaps focused as we were last year. That's one of the other reasons I insisted on having camp here in L.A. It will help us get grounded.
On whether the Western Conference is tougher this season
I think there's more parity. I don't know if it's tougher. I just think there's more parity. Obviously, we anticipate Houston, which had just a miserable year with injuries and the decided change of the guard, so to speak, with McGrady and Yao going down during the season, has improved themselves a lot. I think you have figure that. And there a couple other teams that you have to say, "They really should make the playoffs." The Minnesota Timberwolves, with Kevin Garnett, should make playoffs. There's no reason that a player that's an MVP player two years ago doesn't get your team back to that position. So those are just a couple teams that off the top of my head that I would say are going to be competing. There are teams that missed out last year that we think are going to be better.
Dallas had a wonderful year last year. In fact, they were maybe the best team consistently all year long in the NBA. They'll probably come back with a vengeance and they're gonna be a real difficult team in our Western Conference. The other teams I think are kind of splayed out. San Antonio's got all that experience and all that talent that they have down there. Phoenix has that style that they've got that have made them kind of a remarkable team. But the rest of us are all down here fighting in that pack that's going to be chasing behind that group of guys. Other than those two teams, I really don't know whether you'd say we're stronger (this year) or not. I think we're still stronger than the East as a conference.
Did he communicate to the team about a window in November where they had to be ready to go?
I didn't want to talk about that yet. There's plenty of time to talk about that. They've got to look at training camp as a long four weeks at getting better playing as a team. Incorporating the new players on this team, so they can play with them. There's plenty of time to get ready for the season four weeks from tonight.
Expectations for this season (number of wins, etc.)
We'll just have to wait and see how our team comes along health-wise. Chris Mihm comes back and physically he's able to do things early in the season, it's going to help our team a lot to have that depth and that size. If Kobe's able to step up and play at a level comparable to what he did last year, we'll be a very good team. If it takes a little bit of time to get all those guys back together, two weeks, three weeks into November, that'll change some circumstances. But I see this team performing. They have an idea of who they are. How to play and what roles they have as a player on the team and I think that's really important, that they have some kind of role structure right now.
On whether players need to hear a head coach's voice during training camp
You know, there's a lot to be said for that. But there's also that self motivation that you want to see a team have. The maturity to discipline themselves and bring themselves forward. I think this team has the leadership to do that. They're not going to goof off. I don't see that at all happening with this team. We've got too many guys that have been head coaches in Jim Cleamons and Frank
Hamblem and Tex Winter that have been on the staff that will be there to shake guys up if things get a little strung out.
Along those lines, are you also looking for the leaders among the players to take a more active role during camp?
Well, not really. If Kobe's sidelined, and I anticipate he will be for maybe a week or so, maybe two, of training camp, I'm not putting any number on that, it takes a voice off the floor that's a major leader. Lamar's a leader. He'll help out. Now who's going to be with that second group? That third group? That all has to develop. We've got some leaders now. Walton's shown a leadership role many times off the bench with that group of guys. He became a starter. Now we've got guys that are fighting for positions and jobs. We've got competitive jobs and positions at maybe three spots on this team, so that's a lot of fun for a team to be able to see open places to compete. We think that's going to be really good for this team. The emphasis from my staff to these players today was your job is to make your teammates better right now. Just keep competing with one another. Keep fighting for those jobs that are available.
In trying to improve on last year's record, is there anything Kobe needs to do more, less? Anything different than in 2006?
Well, probably Kobe's gonna have to take less shots. More players have to be involved in the aspect of scoring. That's something that has to be a conscious effort, because he can get shots and he knows how to get them, but it will be a conscious effort on his part as to how to do that. I don't have a number. I think shot 26, 27 times last year. Probably even 3 less or four less is going to be a marked difference. And that's okay, with that distribution, what we're emphasizing as a team is more creation of turnovers, blocked shots, steals. Things that get the ball back so that we generate more offense. That'll change that up a little bit. We've got some guys that can score. Vlade Radmanovic. People are going to need to have shots. Our shooters, Shammond Williams, etc. People that are going to be assets to us if we take advantage of them.
Could 45 wins (last year's total) get the Lakers back in the playoffs?
Yeah. I think it's gonna be kind of like, a lot of people beating up each other in this conference.
Does he hope Andrew Bynum will be in the rotation or expect him to be?
No expectations. Andrew's still 18 years old. Let's face it. All that catch-recovery, that tensile energy isn't yet come to him as a man. However, we think there's a wonderful opportunity with Chris being out the first few exhibition games for him to get an opportunity to see if he can fit in to find a role to play for this team. And do the best job that he can to develop that skill that he's learned this summer. He's made strides. He now looks like he's not a little boy anymore. He's got that "man" type of body. It's all about now, that recovery. Making one effort, making that second effort. Making a rebound, making a block. Missing a shot, getting the rebound and making the tip in. Whatever. Those things are going to come to him as his body collects, and he becomes stronger with that repeat effort.
On Lamar Odom's second half strides in 2006 and his role in 2007
It was a point when the team had that run in the last twenty-something games of the year when Lamar fit in. Things started to flow. Really, I think his three point shooting was the one that really changed at a certain level in the last two months of the year. Lamar definitely got comfortable. We don't want him to get too comfortable in the role he had last year because we think he can play multiple roles on this team. He doesn't have to be the guy with the ball in his hands all the time or be the push guy. We can move that duty around on this team and make our team much more difficult to defend.
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