The Los Angeles Lakers are 28-36 and sit ninth in the Western Conference. Presently, they are closer to the 12th place San Antonio Spurs than they are to the eighth place LA Clippers.
By any objective measure, this group is down bad right now.
Stars hate front office leaders. Players’ wives are beefing with troll media personalities. It’s a rough look all around.
Understandably, when times are toughest, nostalgia kicks in. And that is precisely what has happened in Los Angeles with the team’s former championship head coach, Phil Jackson.
According to Sam Amick and Bill Oram of The Athletic, Jackson is beginning to play an increasingly prominent role in LA affairs.
“Sources say Jackson, the Lakers legend and ex-fiancé of Buss, whose presence at Saturday’s win against Golden State was highlighted by the team’s Twitter account, has been in frequent contact with Buss about team matters all season long.
“The complicated and often uncomfortable dynamics surrounding the Westbrook situation, in particular, are known to have drawn his interest. As unofficial consultants go, they don’t get much more experienced or credible than Jackson.”
For obvious reasons, given how starved Lakers fans are for any semblance of winning basketball at this juncture, the outcry for Jackson’s return has been loud in recent days.
The only person who can save the Lakers playoff hopes https://t.co/d1FjvqTsgp
— Savo Chamberlain (@savowilliams1) March 9, 2022
WE WANT PHIL! Probably not in the sidelines anymore but more on the FO. https://t.co/QW0OkSwn8S
— Angelo Vergel | #StandWithUKRAINE (@nostalg14ngelo) March 8, 2022
— marc (@EyeDropDimez) March 7, 2022
Showing this then having to go back to Vogel is wild https://t.co/JINkCVcSqC
— Juan 🇸🇻 (@LOLL________) March 6, 2022
While the enthusiasm is understandable, it’s worth remembering that Jackson’s most recent run in the NBA wasn’t exactly fruitful. He retired from coaching in 2011, joined the New York Knicks as an executive in March 2014 and was promptly dismissed as the Knicks’ team president in June 2017.
Along the way, he also got embroiled in some pretty nasty controversy.
Obviously the Lakers are down bad right now, but Jackson likely wouldn’t be able to save them. The problem isn’t so much coaching as it is a deeply dysfunctional roster of past-their-prime stars who don’t quite realize how long in the tooth they’ve gotten.
Paige kept it real. https://t.co/8gO0TGLONW
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 9, 2022
The path forward for LA isn’t changing up the coaching staff, though obviously they can do that too. It’s changing up the players.
Will they be able to get it done in the offseason? Time will tell.