AUBURN HILLS — Jeff Hornacek has smiled off Phil Jackson’s tendency to coach his players, giving some variation of the following line that makes sense on the surface — Why not utilize the mind of an 11-time champion?
But according to one former coach, Jackson is undermining Hornacek and should sooner fire him than continue to send out potentially conflicting messages.
“If I was Jeff, I would be a little disappointed in Phil coming down and being in coaches meetings,” Byron Scott, who was fired as coach of the Lakers after last season, said on ESPN. “Not if you in there every once in a while, that’s fine. On the court advising players and things like that (I’d be disappointed). Because you might have told a player one thing and now Phil goes over there and tells him something completely different.
“You hired him to be your coach, let him be your coach. Kind of stay out a little bit. If you want to coach, fire him and take over like you did Derek Fisher. It’s really that simple. I think right now if I was Jeff, I would feel a little uncomfortable. I would feel some flames underneath my feet.”
Following Monday’s practice, Jackson pulled aside starting guard Courtney Lee and gave him lessons in the triangle offense with a whiteboard. Lee said he welcomed the tutorial from the person he called “the Godfather of the Triangle.”
Hornacek added that Jackson has participated in coaches meetings, which was something Derek Fisher resisted. It contributed to Fisher’s firing in February, when Jackson brought in the triangle-inclined Kurt Rambis to serve as interim.
Hornacek seemed annoyed with the subject before Tuesday’s game against the Pistons.
“(Jackson’s) just kind of reiterating things that we’ve talked about with guys about. Guys like listening to what he has to say,” Hornacek said. “When he sees things and wants to talk to the guys, we let him. He calls us and wants us to look at things, we’ll do that. We throw things by him and ask him questions. That’s how it works.”
Detroit’s Stan Van Gundy, who was part of a similar situation when coach of Miami, said Heat president Pat Riley “never” coached his players.
“He would talk to players obviously as anybody in that role will, regardless of who it is. But no, he never went out on the court and worked with players,” Van Gundy said.
Of course, Riley eventually fired Van Gundy and coached the Heat himself — which is what Scott suggested of Jackson. But the 71-year-old Zen Master has made it clear he is no longer physically capable of coaching.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News