NBA legend Phil Jackson sat down with Jack McCallum of Sports Illustrated this week, and he had some interesting things to say about how the Lakers are misusing Dwight Howard.According to Jackson, the Lakers ought to be throwing it to Howard in the post, waiting for him to get double-teamed, and then have shooters on the perimeter knock down open shots.
SI: When you look at the Lakers now, considering that they’ve had a lot of personnel changes and injuries, what do you see?
Jackson: They just don’t put the ball in the post. They’ll use a screen-roll to get the guy in the post. But there’s no consistent plan to do it. Yes, Kobe will go in there. But Dwight [Howard] just doesn’t get any touches. They’ve basically eliminated his assets.
SI: But wouldn’t [Howard’s] assets be rolling off the screen-roll, with either [Steve] Nash or Kobe?
Jackson: You want the ball 10 feet away from the basket. Throw it into the post, make them double-team and have everybody around to make shots. That’s what Shaq could do. That’s where you have the Robert Horrys, the Derek Fishers and the Rick Foxes sitting out there getting wide-open jumpers.
SI: But Dwight is not Shaq in that aspect of the game, drawing the double team and finding people. Isn’t that true?
Jackson: I think he can be.
This is different than how many basketball people think the Lakers should be using Dwight.
Many think that with Steve Nash — one of the best pick-and-roll point guards ever — the Lakers should be running Dwight-Nash pick and rolls all day long.
But what Jackson described is actually closer to what Dwight did so well in Orlando.
The Magic designed their entire team around Dwight, putting four shooters on the floor with him and making open three-pointers when opponents double-teamed him in the post. They ranked either 1st or 2nd in the NBA in three-pointers attempted every year from 2007-08 until Dwight left in 2012.
The Lakers aren’t designed to shoot threes like the Dwight-era Magic were, but playing through him in the post like Jackson recommended might be a way to get things jump-started.
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